Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday advised the public to stop forcing President Rodrigo Duterte to change his demeanor, saying only God can do it.
The neophyte senator said instead of criticizing the president, Filipinos should continue to support Duterte, who recently drew flak for his unsavory remarks against US President Barack Obama.
Obama decided to cancel what would have been his first meeting with tough-talking Duterte, who was a long-time mayor of Davao City mayor before winning the presidency in May.
"Kailangan natin magkaisa para suportahan iyong pangulo natin para sa pagbabago... Humingi naman siya ng paumanhin at sorry sa mga nasaktan niya. Tao lang naman [siya], nagakakamali," Pacquiao said.
By now, Pacquiao said Filipinos should be used to the President's "attitude" and "style" of expressing himself.
"Even before he was elected president, tumatakbo pa lang siya nakikita, nairirinig na natin sa kanya iyan and yet ibinoto pa rin siya ng tao kumbaga tanggap ng tao iyan. Ang importante, iyong tapat," he said.
"Hindi natin siya puwede pangunahan at hayaan natin kung ang Panginoon ang magbigay sa kanya ng wisdom (at) knowledge to change his style... Hindi tayong tao ang magbago sa tao," said Pacquiao.
Pacquiao said the Duterte-Obama incident actually made him appreciate the Philippine chief executive even more.
"Ang hinangaan ko lang sa ating pangulo is alam niya ang pagkakamali at tsaka nag-sorry siya, yun eh. May ibang leaders natin na kahit nagkakamali, hindi tumatanggap ng kamalian, 'di ba?," Pacquiao said.
On Tuesday, Duterte expressed regret for his tirade against Obama.
"While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US president," a statement released by Duterte said.
Pacquiao likened Duterte to a father having to deal with many family problems.
Pacquiao said while he believes Duterte possesses a "high IQ" (intelligence quotient) enough to handle himself well, his advisers should still always remain by his side to give pointers.
"Ang suporta ko [kay Duterte] hindi nagbago, lalong tumitibay, lalo na sa pagsugpo ng krimen sa Pilipinas, lalo na ang droga," the senator said.