It is sad that President Rodrigo Duterte has to go down to the level of boxing icon and Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao. This came after Pacquiao criticized Duterte for supposedly breaking his election promise that he would defend the Philippines’ rights in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). Duterte even joked that he would jet ski to a Chinese-made artificial island within the disputed area and raise the Philippine flag there to reinforce the country’s claim.


The rift between the President and Pacquiaofollowed the latest word war between Duterte and retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio. In May, Duterte also challenged Carpio to debate on the WPS issue. Carpioaccepted Duterte’s challenge, but the President backed out, saying his advisers told him to let Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque represent him in the debate. The debate on WPS died a natural death because both of them moved on.


As for Pacquiao, Duterte did not mince words. “Mag-aral ka muna ng foreign policy (Study foreign policy first)," the President told Pacquiao, whom Duterte helped become president of the ruling PDP-Laban.


Pacquiao graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Makati in December 2019. Many netizens questioned this; they were wondering how Pacquiao managed to earn an educational degree given his hectic schedule as a lawmaker, world boxing champion, endorser, and actor.


The senator from Sarangani province should listen very well to his advisers on foreign policy. It is not a three-month course. He needs constant learning from experts who have spent many years in diplomacy. Foreign policy can't be compared to a 15-round boxing match where each boxer plans to shorten the game via knockout. Understanding of foreign policy is gained through years of experience in all aspects of diplomacy.


If Pacquiao wants to speak about the WPS and criticized the President, he should first arm himself with all the important information on the WPS issue.


Pacquiao is reportedly running for president. Anyone can run for president, but a candidate must meet certain requirements. For Pacquiao, being a senator and president of PDP-Laban, he can surely run for the highest political position in the government.


Carpio denied Pacquiao's request to be part of the 1Sambayan nominees for the presidency. And Carpio is right; while Pacquiao is a boxing icon and a senator Pacquiao lacks knowledge, education, and experience to run the entire executive department.


But if Pacquiao wants to let his billions of money talk and force himself into the circle of presidential timbers, he must think of his future in other areas of politics that he might get interested in later and where he could  be more successful, rather than indulge himself with his ambition and then find himself in the wrong direction. It's a dead-end road.