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Duterte disses Pacquiaoâs foreign policy knowledge amid PDP-Laban squabble
File photo shows Sen. Manny Pacquiao and President Rodrigo Duterte.
The STAR/File

Duterte disses Pacquiao’s foreign policy knowledge amid PDP-Laban squabble

(Philstar.com) - June 9, 2021 - 11:42am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:19 p.m.) — "Magaral ka muna nang husto (You should study the issue more)," President Rodrigo Duterte told Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who recently criticized his policy in the West Philippine Sea, baring what appears to be a deepening of conflict within the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan. 

Early last May, Pacquiao was quoted in several news reports as saying that he found Duterte's policy on the West Philippine Sea lacking, contrasting Duterte's current attitude towards China with his bluster about riding a jet ski to plant the Philippine flag in contested islands while he was a candidate. 

"Well, if it’s about foreign policy, I would not want to degrade him but next time he should — mag-aral ka muna nang husto bago ka pumasok (you should study hard before coming in)," Duterte said in response over a month later. 

"Currently this guy has a very shallow knowledge of..." he also said, trailing off mid sentence.  

The president took the uncharacteristic hit at Pacquiao in a Tuesday interview with his ally and controversial religious leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy after weeks of staying out of the public squabbles among PDP-Laban leadership. 

Pacquiao: My statement reflects the sentiments of most Filipinos

Pacquiao later Tuesday said he regrets that Duterte “was misinformed” on his statement on the West Philippine Sea.

“I respect the president’s opinion but humbly disagree with his assessment of my understanding of foreign policy,” he is quoted by ONE News as saying.

“I firmly believe that my statement reflects the sentiment of majority of the Filipinos, that we should stand strong in protecting our sovereign rights while pursuing a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the dispute.”

Pacquiao during a Senate plenary session last Wednesday slammed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, going so far as to call him incompetent, for attending the party's national assembly in Cebu even as rotational blackouts hit Luzon. 

The senator and the ruling party's acting president had earlier called on members to snub Cusi's call for a national assembly on May 31, noting that meetings must be called by either the president or the chairman. The energy secretary is vice-chairman of PDP-Laban. 

The assembly pushed through after presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who is not a part of PDP-Laban, claimed that it was Duterte, the party's chairman, who directed Cusi to preside over a meeting. 

Duterte 'resisting' party's call for him to run for VP in 2022

While he has not yet confirmed any plans, Pacquaio is expected to seek the presidency in 2022. 

But his party during the national assembly passed a resolution urging Duterte to run as vice president next year and to choose his own running mate. The president's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, is not part of the PDP-Laban but some members of the party want her on their ticket nonetheless. 

Duterte, however, said he is resisting such calls from his party, in a manner reminiscent of the run-up to the launch of his 2016 campaign for the presidency. 

"That is difficult, Pastor, because I am retiring. Then, this time, I will choose the president. When I win, they will say what I am doing is perpetuate [myself] in power, so I resist," the president said partially in Filipino. 

Duterte also said that he dissuaded his daughter anew from seeking the presidency. 

"I arrived last night. Inday, I really spoke [to her] last night: 'Do not run. Do not ever, ever commit the mistake of running for presidency.' ...I do not mean to insult the Filipino people," he said partially in Filipino. 

READ: Duterte-Duterte tandem a 'final stop' in decades-long rise of dynasties — analysts

— Bella Perez-Rubio 

DUTERTE PACQUIAO PDP-LABAN
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