Senator Manny Pacquiao said he wants President Rodrigo Duterte to remain the president while he’s still alive, as he praised the tough-talking leader’s concern for disadvantaged Filipinos.
“Maraming salamat sa lahat lahat, sa lahat ng effort. Actually para sa akin, ikaw na lang [sana ang] maging presidete habang kami ay nabubuhay,” Pacquiao told Duterte during a press conference in Davao City.
“Gusto namin ang ganiyang pangulo. Iyung matigas, hindi puro salita.”
The Filipino champ said this as Duterte issued a strongly worded statement against Kuwait over the death of Filipina domestic helper Joanna Demafelis.
Duterte was fuming about the death of Demafilis, whose body was found inside a freezer in a Kuwait apartment, as well as the cases of Filipinas in the Gulf state who suffered from beatings by their employers.
ACTS OFW party-list Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III also thanked Duterte for showing care for the OFW sector.
“Nagpapasalamat ako bilang kinatawan ng OFW sector. Ngayon lang kami nagkaroon ng presidente na may puso at malasakit sa sektor, Bertiz said.
“Mismong sa inyo na nanggaling ang pagtatanggol niyo sa aming naaaping mga domestic workers.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao also called on the Kuwaiti government to hold the people behind Demafelis’ death accountable.
“Iyung government ng Kuwait, huwag nilang i-tolerate, i-death penalty nila ang employer na gumawa noon, at siguro masa-satisfy tayo at magkakaroon tayo ng kaginhawahan sa puso natin,” Pacquiao said.
“Iimpose nila ang kanilang batas sa kanilang mga citizen dahil buhay itong nawala. Hindi tayo parang hayop lang na basta apihin at patayin.”
Duterte enjoys strong support from overseas Filipinos, winning in the overseas absentee voting in the 2016 polls.
More than 250,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, the Department of Foreign Affairs estimates, most of them as domestic helpers. There are also large numbers in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.