Pacquiao Didn't Criticize Duterte on Sea Disputes: PDP-Laban Official

He was only giving personal assessment.
Photo/s: Office of Sen. Manny Pacquiao/Handout

Senator Manny Pacquiao's assessment of President Rodrigo Duterte's handling of the West Philippine Sea conflict with China should not be taken as criticism, the executive director of their PDP-Laban party said Thursday.

Pacquiao, who late last year took over as president of PDP-Laban, said on Wednesday that Duterte's stance on the sea dispute was "lacking". The party's Bulacan chapter criticized the boxing champion for that remark.

"Sen. Pacquiao simply gave a personal assessment of the President's stance now but immediately hoped that the President goes back to his own previous tougher stance. Where is the criticism?" PDP-Laban Executive Director Ronwald Munsayac said.

"Moreover, isn't stating a point of view for the good of a partymate and the party itself welcome and even encouraged by our members, if the same is to enrich the common good?" he added.


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Munsayac said Pacquiao expressed admiration to Duterte for saying during his 2016 presidential campaign that he would ride a jetski to the Spratlys and plant a Philippine flag there to assert the country's sovereignty.

PDP-Laban members in Bulacan should have adhered to their internal process before issuing public pronouncements "detrimental to the interest of the party and its general membership," Munsayac said.

"I have no doubt that Sen. Pacquiao has nothing but the best interest of the PDP-Laban. To say that Sen. Pacquiao holds the party which was founded and nurtured by the late Senate President Aquilino 'Nene' Pimentel sacred in his heart is an understatement," he added.

Duterte told the nation late Monday it his 2016 promise was merely a "campaign joke."

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