Duterte on Pacquiao’s missing pandemic aid claims: That guy is ‘punch-drunk’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 12) -- President Rodrigo Duterte criticized anew longtime ally Senator Manny Pacquiao, this time for claiming that ₱10.4-billion worth of pandemic funds have gone “missing.”

“'Wag kayo maniwala diyan. ₱10 billion mawala? [Don’t believe him. There’s a missing ₱10 billion?] That is a work of a...I have a term for that, it is not mine, I just borrowed it, but I think Pacquiao is ‘punch-drunk,’” said Duterte on Monday night, describing the boxer-turned-senator as someone who has suffered repeated blows to the head for making such allegations.

The senator earlier accused the Department of Social Welfare and Development for failing to distribute billions of pesos in pandemic assistance. He also questioned the DSWD's deal with e-wallet application Starpay in the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program funds.

However, the DSWD maintained that the amount was accounted for. It added that Starpay was just one of the financial service providers it hired for the distribution of the second tranche of the SAP funds.

Duterte said Pacquiao’s corruption allegations can never happen under his watch.

“Papayag ba naman ang COA (Commission on Audit) niyan? At hindi lang ‘yan, papayag ba kami? Papayag ba ang mga secretary ng mga departamento na may mawala na ₱10 billion?” he said. “That is a statement coming from a guy who is ‘punch-drunk.’”

[Translation: Do you think COA will allow that to happen? And not only that, do you think we will allow it? Do you think the department secretaries will allow ₱10 billion to go missing? That is a statement coming from a guy who is “punch-drunk.”]

Pacquiao earlier accepted Duterte's dare to expose corruption in the government, after the senator claimed the current administration is more corrupt than its predecessor.