MANILA, Nov 11 (Mabuhay) — Senator Manny Pacquiao said he is not backing out of his fight for the presidency in the coming 2022 polls.

“Walang atrasan. Tuloy ang laban (I won’t back down. The fight continues),” Pacquiao said in a statement released Thursday after his meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on Tuesday night.

Pacquiao said the meeting night was arranged by common friends and not a political meeting.

“Hindi nagbabago ang paninindigan ko sa pagtakbo bilang pangulo. Ipakulong ang mga kawatan at iangat ang buhay ng mga mahihirap nating kababayan (My resolve in running for President has not changed. I vow to send the corrupt to jail and uplift the lives of our people),” he said.

“Hindi ako trapo mag-isip. Ang panalo ko ang magpapanalo sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino (I am not a traditional politician, and my victory will be the victory of the Filipino people),” he added.

Prior to that meeting, Pacquiao has been at odds with the President, a disagreement that stemmed from a faction of PDP-Laban members convening and installing President Duterte as the party’s vice presidential candidate for the 2022 polls.

Since then, Pacquiao has called such conventions, which were held with support of PDP-Laban chair Duterte, as illegal. Pacquiao then went on to say that the President has been failing to address rampant corruption in the government, but Duterte has responded with as much, if not more vigor by calling Pacquiao punchdrunk, alluding to the senator’s storied career as a multi-titled boxer but lackluster career as a legislator.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roquee echoed Pacquiao’s claims that the meeting between the President and Pacquiao is not about the 2022 polls.

“It was a friendly meeting, a reunion of sorts,” Roque said when asked if such a meeting is a signal of unity between warring PDP-Laban factions led by Pacquiao and Duterte.

“Let us leave it at that,” Roque added. (MNS)

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