By Deighton Acuin


Malacañang said Tuesday there is no “falling out” between President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Manny Pacquiao, who found the chief executive’s stance on the West Philippine Sea issue lacking

“Hanggang ngayon po, nananatiling napakalaking fan ni Senator Pacquiao ang ating Presidente sa larangan ng palakasan lalo na sa larangan ng boxing. Hanggang doon na lang po tayo,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a media briefing.

Roque’s statement came after Pacquiao told reporters that Duterte’s stance on the issue is different to what he was campaigning during the 2016 national elections.

Pacquiao even recalled Duterte’s promise that he would have a jet ski ride to Spratly Islands to put a Philippine flag to assert the country’s territorial rights.

“Narinig natin bago mag-election, sa pangangampanya, nung sinabi niya na mag-jet ski siya, dala yung watawat ng Pilipinas doon, e siyempre, kahit ako sa puso ko, ito na yung iboboto ko dahil ito yung dapat na presidente, kailangan natin, na pinaglalaban yung bansa natin,” Pacquiao furthered. 

“Tapos ito na, ito na yung crucial na pangyayari ngayon,” the lawmaker added.

As Duterte has been receiving backlash for his statements, Malacañang defended the chief executive by saying that his “utang na loob” remark does not mean the Philippines will give up its sovereignty on the West Philippine Sea. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been filing a series of diplomatic protests over the presence of Chinese vessels on parts of the contested islands.

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