Senator Manny Pacquiao (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Presidential candidate Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao said if elected, his administration would do away with impunity in going after corruption in government, ensuring that prisons get filled by corrupt officials.

“Subukan lang nila ako ng anim na taon. Makikita nila na 'yung ipapagawa kong mega prison mapupuno 'yun. Tama na ang paghihirap na ang sambayanang Pilipino. Tama na paghihirap ng mga kasama ko kung saan ako nanggaling (Let them try me for six years. I will fill the mega prison I will build with the courrupt. We should end the suffering of the Filipino. We should end the suffering of people who come from similar background as me)," Pacquiao said Sunday night during the second installment of the Commission on Elections PiliPinas presidential debate Sunday at the Sofitel Plaza in Pasay City.

In response to a question on whether the source of corruption should be considered systemic or based on personal shortcomings, Pacquiao initially answered by saying he would want a full automation of the bureaucracy to eliminate fixers and other go-betweens but did not elaborate further.

Leadership and political will, he said, are needed to eliminate corruption, adding that penalizing corrupt officials would be an effective deterrent.

“Sa akin, no automation, no operation para walang commission isa na 'yan at kinakilangan talaga dito 'yung tinatawag natin leadership at political will magkasama yan. Dahil ang gusto ko 'yung mga nagnanakaw makita sa kulungan kaya dumadami ang magnanakaw dahil walang nakukulong. Imposible na mabawasan 'yung magnanakaw kung wala naman nakukulong pero kung nagnakaw at pinakulong pa kaagad wala ng maghahangad pa ng magnakaw o maglakas loob na magnakaw (For me it should be 'no automation, no operation' so there will be no commission. That is one. What is really needed here is leadership and poltiical will. I want to see those who steal behind bars. Those who steal grow in numbers because no one is caught. We cannot lessen that if we do not jail them, so that would deter others),” Pacquiao said.

Recalling his humble beginnings growing up poor in General Santos City, Pacquiao said corruption is responsible for the country's long battle against poverty.

“'Yan ang matagal na problema sa ating bansa na sinisigaw at 'di masolusyonan. Ang sama ng loob 'pag nakakakita ako ng taong naghihirap at nagugutom, mga pamilyang walang opportunity. Ang sinisisi ko palagi 'yung mga kawatan dyan sa gobyerno (That has been a long problem in our country which has eluded solutions. I am hurt seeing the poor and hungry and people who have no opportunity. I blame the thieves in government)," he said.

The debate was attended by all presidential bets, except former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (PNA)