Written by CNN Staff
What started off as a flirty social media exchange quickly escalated into a bold challenge. Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao tweeted a photo of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte looking a bit inebriated while aboard his plane, followed by the caption: “Dont blame President @RodrigoRody for me.”
That tweet prompted Duterte to respond, with a tweet of his own in which he reportedly cracked a joke about a postage stamp that depicted the boxer.
“I wish this president suuuuuuurey dead,” Duterte said on Twitter, adding that the fighter should be “killed at the maximum, by a sniper, while stoned to death by 5000 people.”
By March 15, the campaign had attracted almost 7 million views.
“#CARELESSFUEL,” Pacquiao later tweeted, in response to Duterte’s comments.
“Bring on the justice! Let the lawmakers vote on #CarelessFuel….,” Pacquiao tweeted.
During the speech to the Filipino population on Monday, a day after his win in the Senate election, Senator-elect Pacquiao called on the Filipino people to support the “careless fuel” bill to end environmental pollution.
“In our society, we have no children because we raise them in filth and wealth… What happens to children, God only knows,” Pacquiao said.
“What do we have to sacrifice? Our entire country?” he added.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao during the swearing-in ceremony of the Senate on March 12, 2019. Credit: Dondi Tawatao/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Philippine senator-elect Manny Pacquiao talks about his conviction to stand against environmental pollution. Credit: Kurt Wagner/CBS Miami
Duterte is no stranger to being criticized by foreigners. He was lambasted during last year’s Davao City mayor elections, after a tape surfaced in which he reportedly discussed the recruitment of prostitutes and drug users as bodyguards, and the shooting of two journalists.
Despite his critics, polls show that the president holds a commanding lead in popularity, and that he retains a sizeable majority in Congress.
*Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify the source of some of the allegations in the story.