Manny Pacquiao (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Oct 18 (Mabuhay) — Broadcaster Raffy Tulfo said Monday that he turned down Senator and presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao’s offer to be his running mate for Eleksyon 2022, saying he does not want to battle it out with his friends.

“I courteously turned it down. It is too fast [for me to go for that], at hindi ko puwedeng banggain ang Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte na kaibigan ko at pati si Senate President Tito Sotto,” Tulfo, who has been topping pre-election polls for the Eleksyon 2022 Senate race, said.

Tulfo was referring to the time when the PDP-Laban faction where Duterte belongs to nominated the Chief Executive as the party’s vice presidential bet for Eleksyon 2022. That PDP-Laban faction eventually fielded Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa as its presidential bet, with Senator Christopher “Bong” Go as dela Rosa’s running mate.

The broadcaster has since been named as a guest candidate of Pacquiao’s Senate slate. The place of Pacquiao’s running mate, on the other hand, went to Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza.

Tulfo has also been named guest candidate of the Senate slate of the tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Sotto.

Duterte ally or foe?

But while Tulfo said he won’t duke it out with Duterte, he said he does not always agree with the President’s policies such as the closure of ABS-CBN and the war on drugs.

“Of course I support the reopening of ABS-CBN. Why? Around 10,000 people lost their jobs. They have families to take care of, babies to feed, parents who are sick of cancer. Their life stopped [because of the closure],” Tulfo said.

“In the drug war, definitely it was a failure. He said he will solve it in six months, but it did not happen. Siya mismo nagsabi, hindi ko pala kaya (He said it himself, he could not do it),” he added.

Tulfo then said that drug users should be rehabilitated and the big time drug suppliers are the ones whom the police should go after.

“If the users are rehabilitated and given another chance, there will be no more demand for the supply. We should be going after suppliers. Ang tinutugis naitn dapat, pating, balyena. Puro pipitsugin eh (We should be going after sharks, whales, not small-time peddlers),” he added.

Last September, the International Criminal Court (ICC) found reasonable basis to probe the Philippine government for alleged crimes against humanity due to the “systematic” killing of citizens in pursuit of a state policy of anti-drug war.

Tulfo, however, said Duterte, if indeed liable, should be held accountable before Philippine courts.

“Dapat ‘yung ating Pangulo managot siya sa taumbayan, sa Filipino people, hindi ‘yung iilan na husgadong foreigners (Our President should be accountable to us, not to foreign judges),” Tulfo added.

The Philippines has a law punishing crimes against humanity which is the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

The ICC, however, said, in its statement allowing the probe, that the war on drugs campaign “cannot be seen as a legitimate law enforcement operation, and the killings neither as legitimate nor as mere excesses in an otherwise legitimate operation.”

Rather, the ICC said that “the available material indicates, to the required standard, that a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population took place pursuant to or in furtherance of a State policy, within the meaning of Article 7(1) and (2)(a) of the [Rome] Statute [that established ICC].”

Malacañang early this month said it would be difficult for the ICC to “uncover the truth” in the drug war as it insisted that the Philippine government will not cooperate in the ICC’s investigation into the matter.

Surveys

Meanwhile, Tulfo said Monday that his long record of helping laborers deprived of salaries by their employers propelled him to the top of pre-election polls in the Eleksyon 2022 Senate race.

A Social Weather Stations survey conducted from September 12-16 showed Tulfo leading senatorial bets with 57%. He also topped Pulse Asia’s survey results released two weeks ago with 55.2%.

“No, I did not expect it at all [to rank first]. It was a humbling experience. They saw what I did for the last 20 years, and I am very overwhelmed and thankful for their support,” Tulfo said.

Tulfo said his priority in the Senate if he wins is to push for the Wage Theft Law which would compel cheating employers to pay back the wages due to their employees on top of facing liability for failing to do it on time.

He also defended his style of trial by publicity wherein accusers get to call the accused on air via his program, with Tulfo serving as mediator and the public as the jury.

Tulfo said that while there were a few instances when he had to apologize over wrongful accusations, it is worth the risk.

“People come to me especially the poor as a last resort. They have nowhere else to go because of the broken system,” he said.

“I am willing to do something, whatever it takes, as long as it is legal, to help them solve their problems. Mali ba ‘yung ganong ginagawa kong pagtulong? (Is that wrong),” he added. (MNS)

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