1Sambayan lead convenor retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Senator Manny Pacquiao lacks the competence to become the next president of the Philippines.
Carpio, who launched last week a broad coalition of democratic forces to come up with the opposition’s single slate for president, vice president, and senators in the 2022 national elections, even criticized Pacquiao’s poor attendance in legislative sessions.
“As congressman, Pacquiao was the number one absentee—he was the topnotcher in absences in Congress. As senator, he again topped—he was number one in absences,” Carpio said.
Carpio earlier said Pacquiao and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte are not among those being eyed by 1Sambayan to become the standard bearer of the opposition.
“That basic qualification—competence — is not there,” Carpio said.
Pacquiao, for his part, appealed to Carpio and the public in general to give him a chance to prove himself.
“I also want the public, especially those saying that I have no right (to run for President) to give me a chance,” he said.
“As far as I know, I almost have no absences in my job in the Senate this 18th Congress. I only have four absences. (And) I have been absent (when I was still a congressman) not because I want to but because I need to. I needed to go to my district,” he added.
Despite his absences, Pacquiao said his record as a legislator can speak for itself.
“If you check my record at the Senate, I have proposed 96 measures which I authored or co-authored,” he said.
“Nonetheless, I still respect the opinion of former Justice Carpio. I will take it as a reminder to do better as public servant and as a servant of God,” Pacquiao added.
Carpio acknowledged that Pacquiao meets the basic qualification to seek the presidency under the 1987 Constitution.
“Manny Pacquiao may have a good heart and we know that. But running a country of 110 million people requires competence,” the retired magistrate said.
“I think we should understand that we have to look for a leader who has competence, who can revive the economy, who can generate employment for the people, who can solve this pandemic. We cannot have a president who is absent,” Carpio added.