Pacquiao, currently a senator, was named Sunday by his allies from the PDP-Laban party at the group’s national assembly, days after a rival faction named Duterte as his choice for vice president and his long-time aide. date, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, as the party’s presidential candidate.
Pacquiao, 42, presents a potential obstacle to Duterte’s succession plans as the race for the top job takes shape.
“I’m a fighter and always will be a fighter, inside and outside the ring,” Pacquiao said at the event. “All my life, I haven’t shied away from a fight. Nothing is impossible if it is ordained by God.
Threat to Duterte
Pacquiao’s presidential candidacy is seen by analysts as a threat to Duterte’s candidate in 2022, as the boxer could split the vote in the South Island where the two are from, opening the door for leading figures in the world. opposition.
Go declined the nomination, but the rift between the Pacquiao and Duterte factions grew. The senator ranked fifth out of 15 possible presidential candidates in a June poll by PulseAsia.
Pacquiao’s faction has not expressed support for Duterte’s run for vice president. Duterte is constitutionally prohibited from running for a second six-year term as president.
The eight-division boxing world champion and beloved national hero made the announcement weeks after losing what could be his last professional fight to Cuban Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao was among the highest-paid athletes in the world in 2019, according to Forbes.
The Filipino boxer has been a senator since 2016 and has also served as a congressman. He was once a staunch ally of Duterte, championing the president’s deadly war on drugs and the death penalty.
Recently, however, Pacquiao criticized the administration for alleged corruption and its stance on the South China Sea amid a split in the ruling party.
“We need progress, we need to overcome poverty, we need the government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency,” Pacquiao said. “We are fed up with promises of change.
“Made by poverty”
The 42-year-old is deeply admired in the archipelago nation for his generosity and for emerging from poverty to become one of the tallest and richest boxers in the world.
His credentials in boxing as well as the fight against poverty and corruption will probably be the key themes of his campaign.
“For those asking what are my qualifications, have you ever felt hungry? Pacquiao asked the national assembly held by the anti-Duterte faction of the PDP-Laban.
“Have you ever had the experience of not eating anything, borrowing money from your neighbors or waiting for leftovers at a food stand? The Manny Pacquiao before you was shaped by poverty.