Pacquiao accepted the nomination of his political allies at the national assembly of the faction he leads within the ruling PDP-Laban party, days after a rival faction appointed Duterte’s longtime aide , Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, as presidential candidate.
This faction appointed Duterte to the post of vice president, a move that critics have called Duterte’s cynical ploy to retain power.
Go declined the nomination, but the rift between the Pacquiao and Duterte factions grew.
“I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter in and out of the ring,” Pacquiao, 42, a senator, said in a speech broadcast live at the meeting. “I accept your nomination as a candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines. “
One of the greatest boxers of all time and the only man to hold world titles in eight different divisions, Pacquiao has not commented on his 26-year professional career.
Despite his popularity, Pacquiao is behind the top in opinion polls which have been consistently dominated by Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio.
In July, Pacquiao was elected leader of the PDP-Laban, weeks after challenging Duterte over his stance on China and his anti-corruption record, but his ouster was rejected by his faction.
Pacquiao, once a close ally of Duterte, had said more than 10 billion pesos ($ 200 million) in pandemic aid for poor families was nowhere to be found, adding that it was only a discovery in his corruption investigation.
Its anti-corruption crusade comes as the Senate has opened an investigation into an alleged overpricing of medical supplies and equipment purchased as part of the government’s pandemic response program.
Duterte challenged Pacquiao to name corrupt government offices to prove the boxer wasn’t just playing politics before the election.
Pacquiao responded by warning of jail time for corrupt government officials, “Your time is up!