Pacquiao vs Duterte
Pacquiao vs Duterte
By Luis V. Teodoro
He has done nearly everything else except formally announce it, because if he does, under Commission on Elections (Comelec) rules he could be liable to charges of premature campaigning, but perennial absentee senator-cum-boxer Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao seems determined to run for President in 2022.
He has reportedly narrowed his choices for vice-presidential running mate to either Senate President Vicente Sotto III or Senator Panfilo Lacson. But that is not as significant as his decision to distance himself from the current regime by initially being critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s unwillingness and inability to defend the country’s interests in the West Philippine Sea, and lately, by in effect declaring that corruption in government has reached unprecedented levels.
Mr. Duterte has not surprisingly accused him of politicking in behalf of his presidential ambitions. However, Pacquiao would only be in the same company as Duterte’s daughter Sara, Manila Mayor “Isko” Moreno, and presidential confidant Christopher “Bong” Go, all of whom could also be accused of launching their drives for the country’s highest elective post way ahead of the official campaign period that starts only in February 2022.
But whatever his motives, Pacquiao’s is one more addition to the many other voices — those of civil society, sectoral and mass organizations, business associations, journalists’ and lawyers’ groups, ordinary folk, and such global corruption watch groups as Transparency International — that have been lamenting the misuse of government funds, the unaccountability, and the racketeering in many government agencies. While rampant even in previous administrations, these practices have visibly worsened in the present one in which, it is widely believed, even the pandemic crisis has become another source of public sector profiteering.