RESPECT. President Rodrigo Duterte bows before the crowd at the thanksgiving event “Salamat (Thank you), PRRD” at Quirino Grandstand Manila on Sunday (June 26, 2022). The President previously declared he is retiring from politics after June 30. (Photo courtesy of Sen. Bong Go Facebook)

MANILA – Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Tuesday congratulated President Rodrigo Duterte as he vacates Malacañang in two days.

Pimentel thanked Duterte for his sacrifices for the nation.

"I wish him good health, after his tenure as President, so he can spend more time with his family. Enjoy non-political life for the time being or at last. Kasi more than 30 years na yata si President Duterte sa (It has been 30 years for President Duterte in) public service," Pimentel said in an interview at the Senate.

"Maraming (There are many) physical changes. ‘Yan naman ang nakikita talaga ng tao (That is what people will see). That would be his major legacy," he added.

Pimentel declared last March that he is “no longer a personal ally” of President Duterte because they do not talk anymore and are no longer party mates.

The PDP-Laban wing of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and the other side led by Pimentel and Senator Manny Pacquiao are at odds.

The Cusi-led faction was recognized as the dominant majority party by the Commission on Elections prior to the May 9 polls.

However, Pimentel said he holds no grudges against President Duterte.

"Wala akong sama ng loob at tuloy ang laban (I harbor no ill feelings [toward President Duterte] and the fight goes on]. We will never surrender. But the case does not involve Duterte. It involves Secretary Cusi. Kami na ni Secretary Cusi ang mangbanggaan (Secretary Cusi and I will clash)," Pimentel said, referring to Cusi as the real architect without elaborating. (PNA)