After a unanimous decision loss to Yordenis Ugas last month, boxing’s only eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao wasn’t sure about continuing his already legendary fighting career. But what Sen. Pacquiao has made certain is his intentions to run for the Philippines’ highest political seat.
On Sunday, the 42-year-old declared his presidential bid for the 2022 elections under the PDP-Laban banner. It was originally the same political party as incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, although it has recently split into two-rival factions, with Duterte’s allies on one side, and Pacquiao on the other.
“On this very day, I want you all to remember,” Pacquiao said in Filipino during his nomination speech at the PDP-Laban national assembly. “In the name of our countrymen who have been longing for betterment in our government, and honest governance and service to the Filipino people, I wholeheartedly, courageously, and humbly hope for your support.
“I accept your nomination as a candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines. It’s about time for the oppressed to prevail. It’s about time for our nation to rise from poverty. It’s about time for an honest government where every centavo goes to every Filipino.”
In the Philippines, Pacquiao isn’t as revered as a politician as he is a fighter. Part of the many reasons is his controversial statements against the LGBTQ community. And in 2020, Pacquiao blamed the country’s long-standing problems on corruption to “too much democracy.”
He also championed Pres. Duterte’s bloody “War on Drugs” and controversial “anti-terrorism bill.” The said bill drew concerns from the UN Human Rights office because it potentially “dilutes human rights safeguards” in the country.
Sen. Pacquiao, however, promises to work on abolishing corruption and protecting his countrymen for as long as he is in power.
“If I won’t step up, who will? Who will defend (our countrymen)? Who will protect them?” Pacquiao said in a separate interview with local celebrity Toni Gonzaga.
“I’m not putting myself on a pedestal, but that’s how I feel. I’m not a materialistic person who’s all about money. In short, I’m not a worldly person.”