Wednesday, August 14, 2019
This whole week leading up to his comeback fight Pacquiao has been answering questions about his new life as a senator and support of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, whose ultraviolent war on drugs, affection for extrajudicial killings, affiliations with anti-narcotic death squads, and self-confessed similarity to Adolf Hitler have made him the most-hated man among the international community’s human rights advocates. All the while Pacquiao has been supportive of his old friend, leading the charge in the senate for the reinstatement of the death penalty for drug dealers and ousting the chair of the committee tasked with investigating Duterte’s connection to violent vigilante groups.
Manny Pacquiao has been considered a top contender for the Philippines presidency since he became a member of the senate and talk of him becoming leader of his country has picked up steam again.
Duterte said during Pacquiao’s 39th birthday bash in 2017 that the Filipino icon would make an ideal president. “I told him when we were alone, I want him to become president,” Duterte said in 2017.
“You have brought so much pride and joy to our country for being the world champion in the field of boxing,” Duterte said of the fighting senator.
But even first-term senators devoted to murderous tyrants with a discipline fetish have their limits. And apparently Pacquiao’s came this week, after Duterte’s long nose-thumbing campaign against the United States and President Barack Obama (who Duterte called a “son of a bitch” in September and told to “go to hell” in October) culminated with his calling for the removal of all U.S. troops and military bases from the Philippines and blowing off reports that the U.S. will halt the sale of 24,000 guns to his government’s national police over Duterte’s approach to fighting drugs by calling American leaders “monkeys” and “fools” and saying he’ll just get those guns from someone else, like Russia.
“Being a public servant is different from sports. It’s more on the mind and a lot of problems, thinking about how to solve those problems in the country, and also to provide solution to those problems.”
Just last month, a reporter asked if he would still continue boxing if he became president. Pacquiao replied: “I hope so.”