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Pacquiao alleges P10.4B in aid lost to corruption, to refer documents to Senate panel

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Pacquiao alleges P10.4B in aid lost to corruption, to refer documents to Senate panel
File photo of Sen. Manny Pacquiao
Wendell Alinea

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Saturday claimed that he was in possession of documents baring billions lost due to corruption across government agencies and said he would refer them all to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. 

He said this days after President Rodrigo Duterte again lashed out against him in public, daring him to substantiate and investigate his allegations of corruption against government officials and agencies. 

In an online media briefing, Pacquiao presented piles of documents that he claimed contained proof of "corruption in every branch of our government." 

He accused the Department of Social Welfare Department specifically of failing to distribute P10.4 billion in pandemic aid. 

Pacquiao alleged that P14 billion worth of social amelioration program funds were allocated by the DSWD to 1.8 million beneficiaries to be transferred through the e-wallet app Starpay.

"This is the problem, Mr. President, why of the 1.8 million [people] given SAP through Starpay, only 500,000 people have downloaded the app?" Pacquiao said in a presentation delivered in Filipino.

"For those who don’t know, you cannot receive or withdraw any amount [of money] without downloading the Starpay app," he added. 

A total of P50 billion of SAP funds, he noted, was allocated to be paid through the app which he said "had a buildup capital of only P60,000." 

"This is only one of the things  I have discovered. This is only the third day since I have accepted your challenge to prove [my allegations]," he said, addressing Duterte. 

The senator is scheduled to depart for the US today in preparation for a boxing match but said he would forward the documents in his possession to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. 

While he insisted again that he is not trying to attack Duterte, who sits as chairman of the ruling PDP-Laban, Pacquiao, who is the party's president, has been locked in a public conflict with the chief executive for weeks. 

Responding to a call from PDP-Laban's vice-chairman, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, for him to step down as president, Pacquiao said he had signatures of thousands of members of the party who support him as its president. 

— Bella Perez-Rubio 

MANNY PACQUIAO RODRIGO DUTERTE
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