Pacquiao formalizes the presidential race in the Philippines – .

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Pacquiao formalizes the presidential race in the Philippines – .


MANILA, Oct. 1 (Reuters) – Newly retired boxing icon Manny Pacquiao was the first to apply for the next president of the Philippines as registration began for thousands of political posts in what is expected to be a hotly contested election in May next year.

Week-long registrations, typically a festive event with large crowds, will be more subdued this year with restrictions in place to tackle one of Asia’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks.

Pacquiao, who was joined by his wife and running mate, House Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza, submitted without fanfare his certificate of candidacy to the electoral body, before saying a few words to the media about his plans if he was. elected.

“My priority is to resolve the pandemic so that we can lead the economy to recovery,” said Pacquiao, who wore a brown polo shirt and a white mask with his image and that of the Philippine flag.

On the way to the registration building, Pacquiao was greeted by dozens of supporters waiting by the side of the road and waving banners that read “Fight, Pacman”.

Pacquiao said he was not disturbed by the results of an opinion poll showing him fourth among the preferred presidential candidates, saying: “The voices of the poor have not been heard.”

One of the greatest boxers of all time and the only man to hold world titles in eight different divisions, Pacquiao retired from boxing in September to run for president. He is a member of Congress for two terms and currently a senator.

The registration process is expected to end months of speculation over who will compete to succeed incendiary President Rodrigo Duterte, 76, who under the constitution cannot run for re-election and will run for vice president instead . Read more

Newly retired Filipino senator and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao waves from his bus before submitting his certificate of presidential candidacy, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on October 1, 2021. REUTERS / Eloisa Lopez

Besides Pacquiao, two other contenders have declared their intention to run for president. The mayor of Manila Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, a former actor, and Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief, were due to submit their certificates in the following days.

But the spotlight will be on Sara Duterte-Carpio, the president’s daughter, despite her refusal to run next year.

Duterte-Carpio, 43, replaced her father as mayor of Davao when he became president, and she remains by far the most popular presidential prospect, according to successive opinion polls this year.

Analysts say it’s crucial that his father’s successor is a loyalist, to isolate him from possible legal action at home or by the International Criminal Court, over the thousands of state killings in his war against drugs since 2016.

Critics say his interest in the vice-presidency is also a movement for self-preservation. Duterte says his motivation is public service, not power.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who leads the opposition, is also invited by her supporters to run for the highest office.

“In the coming days, please pray with me that our decision will be the best for our country,” she said.

More than 60 million Filipinos will vote in May 2022 for a new president, vice president and more than 18,000 lawmakers and local officials.

Applicants have until October 8 to register, but withdrawals and replacements are allowed until November 15, leaving room for last minute changes of mind, such as entry at Duterte’s 11th hour for the 2016 election, which he won by a large margin.

Reporting by Karen Lema; Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Eloisa Lopez; Editing by Martin Petty and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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