President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday that he rejected the offer of Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao to join forces for the sake of Mindanao.
He also clarified that it was Pacquiao, also a presidential candidate, who sought for an audience when they met last week.
“Sabi nya na magsama tayo for the sake of Mindanao. (He said let’s join for the sake of Mindanao. I said), Sabi ko, I am sorry, I cannot support you,” Duterte said.
“Hindi talaga ako magsuporta sa kanya (I really cannot give support to Pacquiao),” he added.
Duterte met with Pacquiao to revive their strained “friendship,” Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that Duterte had a “short and cordial” meeting with Pacquiao on Tuesday night.
The meeting was held upon the request of Pacquiao, Roque said.
“We confirm that Senator Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao met President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last night, November 9. It was a short and cordial meeting requested by the camp of the good Senator,” Roque said in a press statement.
Pacquiao, who was installed as the president of the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in 2020, was once considered an ally of Duterte.
However, Duterte and Pacquiao engaged in a verbal tussle in July this year after the senator claimed that corruption exacerbates under the Chief Executive’s watch.
The rift between the two also led to the creation of a new faction of the PDP-Laban led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, who is running for president under Cusi-led PDP-Laban, also attended the meeting between Duterte and Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, who is still regarded as the president of the other faction of the ruling party, is running for president in the May 9, 2022 national elections.