Pacquiao was appointed by a faction of the ruling PDP-Laban party, the same party of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, Reuters reported.
“I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter in and out of the ring,” said Pacquiao, who is currently a Filipino senator. “I accept your nomination as a candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines. “
His appointment comes just days after the rival faction within the PDP-Laban appointed Duterte’s chosen successor, Christopher “Bong” Go.
The same faction also named Duterte vice president, which critics have lambasted as a thinly veiled attempt for him to retain power and possibly avoid prosecution for his bloody war on drugs. Under the Philippine constitution, Duterte can no longer run for president, but can run for vice president as they are elected separately. Go ultimately declined the nomination.
Pacquiao, 42, has previously hinted that he would run for president, although when he first entered politics he was too young to be eligible. In the Philippines, presidential candidates must be at least 40 years old.
Reuters noted that Pacquiao, who served as chairman of PDP-Laban until July of this year, is currently lagging behind the most promising favorites in recent polls despite his popularity in the Philippines.
Pacquiao was once a close ally of Duterte, but has since grown into one of his most vocal opponents, attacking him for his close relationship with China and accusing him of being gentle on corruption.
In June, Duterte shot Pacquiao for this apparent about-face.
“You haven’t told me anything in all these years, you are all praise and praise to me and now you will say corrupt,” Duterte said of Pacquiao’s criticisms. “I will hunt you down every day. I will denounce you as a liar.
Pacquiao has been a member of the Philippine Congress since 2010, when he was elected to the House of Representatives. In 2016, he was elected to the Senate. As a politician, Pacquiao is known to have conservative views aligned with his evangelical Christian beliefs.