The Palace on Tuesday wished Senator Manny Pacquiao the “best of luck” for his upcoming fight with undefeated boxing champion Errol Spence Jr.
Malacañang, however, also said that while Pacquiao was the “best in the boxing ring,” he was “probably not as good elsewhere” — in an apparent criticism of the senator who has made comments that did not sit well with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Before leaving for the United States on Saturday to prepare for his boxing bout with Spence scheduled in August, Pacquiao alleged that there were irregularities in the government’s social amelioration program involving P10.4 billion.
“Whether or not (his fight will push through), we wish him luck, of course. We wish all Filipinos the best of luck in whatever they do best,” presidential spokesman Secretary Harry Roque said.
“When it comes to Manny Pacquiao, he is best in the boxing ring, but probably not as good elsewhere,” he added.
Duterte and Pacquiao had long been allies, but the President last month threatened to expose the senator as a “liar” if he failed to prove his accusation that corruption has worsened under the present administration.
Pacquiao then accused the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of corruption, saying it entered into an agreement with e-wallet app Starpay to disburse social amelioration program funds, but some 1.3 million individuals of the total 1.8 million beneficiaries allegedly failed to get financial assistance.
Roque tagged the accusation as “nonsense” as the boxer-lawmaker failed to present documents despite a pile of papers at his table shown during a press conference.
Pacquiao, however, said he has a “credible” witness to prove irregularities during the aid disbursement.
The lawmaker added that he would present more corruption allegations against the Department of Health, Department of Energy, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources in September after his boxing match with Spence.
Over the weekend, the agencies accused of corruption denied Pacquiao’s claims, but they expressed their intent to cooperate with authorities should there be an investigation.