Manny Pacquiao Admits to Past Drug Use, Supports Philippines Drug War

By David Konow 10/04/16

The controversial boxer says the Philippines president is "anointed by God" and was put in power to "discipline the people."

Manny Pacquiao Admits to Past Drug Use, Supports Philippines Drug War

While the controversial drug war in the Philippines rages on—a war that has reportedly cost over 3,000 lives to date—one famous Filipino native, boxer Manny Pacquiao, has come forward to express his support for the president as well as confess his former drug use.

Since President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in on June 30, his aggressive War on Drugs has taken a heavy toll on the Philippines, earning him the nickname “The Punisher.” But Pacquiao, one of the highest paid athletes in the world, told Reuters it’s unfair to blame the president for the high body count, and that it should be blamed on the drug lords and dealers.

Pacquiao began his political career in his homeland in 2010 when he was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives, according to this Wikipedia page. He was elected to the senate this past summer, and has used his political position to try and oust fellow Senator Leila De Lima, who is currently investigating Duterte’s alleged links to death squads when he was the mayor of Davao City.

“The committee should investigate and gather information and legislate, not to use the committee to persecute or single out a person like this administration,” said Pacquiao. “It’s not my intention to remove her from the chairmanship of a committee of justice to stop the investigation. In fact, the investigation is to continue.”

The boxer has reportedly been friends with President Duterte for over 15 years, but the president was apparently unaware that he used drugs as a young man, including meth, marijuana and cocaine. ("Shabu," another name for meth, is reportedly the most abused drug in the country.) The boxer said he used drugs “for years,” but only during his youth, long before he “became a champion.”

“I tried drugs … many kinds of drugs, all kinds of drugs,” said Pacquiao. He believes Duterte “always gives a chance to people who want to be changed.” Pacquiao also told Reuters that the president was a “nice guy” and “the anointed one." He said, "God put him there for a reason, for purpose—to discipline the people.”

Duterte’s brand of urban discipline has proven so controversial that he has even compared himself to Hitler. "Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is ... three million drug addicts (in the Philippines) ... I’d be happy to slaughter them,” the president said at a recent press conference. Duterte later apologized to the Jewish community for his remarks. 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.