Duterte teases VP bid, calls Pacquiao ‘a shit’

Duterte teases VP bid, calls Pacquiao �a shit�
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and provided updates on the government's efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis in the country on January 13, 2021.
Released / PCOO Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte no longer seems to be "resisting" calls to seek the vice presidency in 2022. 

Just last month, Duterte told SMNI News that he was shunning calls from his party, the ruling PDP-Laban, to seek the country's second-highest post and to choose his running mate next year. 

"[T]hey will say I am perpetuating myself in power. So I am resisting," Duterte said then. 

But the president changed his tune on Thursday, telling reporters during the inauguration of the LRT Line 2 East Extension Project: "Maybe... to maintain equilibrium for all, consider me a candidate for the vice presidency at this time." 

Duterte reiterated, however, that he would only run if "there is space" because he promised to support House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez if the lawmaker mounted a vice-presidential bid.  

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

Duterte-Pacquiao feud continues 

For the second time this week, Duterte publicly lashed out at Sen. Manny Pacquiao, a close administration ally and acting president of the PDP-Laban, cursing at him and even going after his boxing career. 

He said Pacquiao was "too old" and "failing" at his boxing career.

"Kung matalo siya (If he loses), he’s a goner actually," he said, referring to the senator's upcoming fight. "Wala ka, wala ka talaga. (You are nothing)."

"You are a shit," Duterte piled on, addressing Pacquiao directly. "Do not go elsewhere. Comply first with your duty as a senator."

Earlier Thursday, Pacquiao denied that he was "attacking" the president by calling out corruption in government, saying he was actually trying to assist the chief executive's drive against corruption. 

But Duterte, PDP-Laban chairman, said Pacquaio's corruption allegations stem from the fact that he "could not maybe wait for the announcement that the PDP will go for him," seeming to imply that Pacquiao was impatient to be named as the party's presidential bet for 2022. 

He further dared Pacquiao to prove his claims of corruption, but outrightly dismissed the senator's allegations against Health Secretary Duque III and his department. 

Pacquiao is not the only senator to allege corruption and mismanagement at the DOH. In fact, over half the Senate last year sought Duque's resignation over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The entire upper chamber also recommended that charges be filed against Duque for his involvement in the alleged corruption at PhilHealth where he sits as chairman. Duterte dismissed their calls and recommendations too, repeatedly coming to the defense of his beleaguered health secretary. 

The verbal bout over corruption is only the latest development in a months-long conflict among PDP-Laban leadership.

Duterte first weighed in after Pacquiao criticized his policy in the West Philippine Sea, telling the senator to study more to remedy his "shallow knowledge" on the matter. 

RELATED: Duterte disses Pacquiao’s foreign policy knowledge amid PDP-Laban squabble | PDP-Laban rift continues: Pacquiao hits Cusi over Luzon blackouts

— Bella Perez-Rubio with a report from Xave Gregorio

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