Duterte predicts Pacquiao to become Philippine president

Sen. Manny Pacquiao is one of the allies of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate, but the boxer was part of the senatorial ticket of former vice president Jejomar Binay during the 2016 polls. President Rodrigo Duterte on the other hand, admitted that he is an avid fan of Pacquiao. The STAR, File

Duterte predicts Pacquiao to become Philippine president
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 19, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Neophyte senator and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao will someday become president of the republic, President Duterte predicted over the weekend.

In a freewheeling speech delivered during Pacquiao’s 38th birthday celebration in General Santos Saturday night, Duterte referred to the boxer as “president-to-be.”

Duterte even gave Pacquiao advice in the event that the boxer occupies Malacañang.

“I asked permission from president-to-be Manny Pacquiao. Ako, nagbitaw na ako ng salita, oo, klaro na ’yan (I already said my piece. It’s clear),” Duterte said, drawing applause from the audience.

“Look. Ito ha. Man, magpulitiko ka man, magiging presidente ka rin, tingin ko eh, totoo. (Manny, you are a politician and I think you will also become a president).

“Sundan mo lang ang linya mo at ganun lang ang ugali mo – ’yang style mo, stay humble. Mababa lang (Follow your lines and retain your style. Stay humble),” he added.

Duterte’s advice to Pacquiao came after he chided his critics for supposedly trivializing the drug menace in the country.

Pacquiao thanked Duterte for gracing his birthday party. The boxer also thanked God, his family and his fans for supporting him.

Pacquiao is one of the allies of Duterte in the Senate, but the boxer was part of the senatorial ticket of former vice president Jejomar Binay during the 2016 polls. Duterte, on the other hand, admitted that he is an avid fan of Pacquiao.

In an interview last May, Pacquiao claimed that he had always been supportive of Duterte’s advocacies and that he was not affected by criticisms of being a political turncoat.

Duterte also teased Pacquiao about seeking the presidency during their meeting at Malacañang last month. During the meeting, Duterte raised Pacquiao’s hands and said: “For president na ‘to ha (This is for the presidency).”

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum also believes that the boxer will eventually seek the highest post in the land. – With Edith Regalado

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