Philippine senator and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has accepted the nomination of the PDP-Laban-Pacquiao faction to run for president in the 2022 Philippine elections scheduled in May.
In the faction’s national assembly held in Quezon City on Sunday, Pacquiao ended months of speculation by pushing through with his biggest fight outside the boxing ring thus far.
“I am a fighter and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring. In my whole life, I have not backed out of a fight. Because in the name of principle, the nation’s pride, I stand reaffirmed and strong,” opened Pacquiao in Filipino during his acceptance speech.
Pacquiao, who lived a life of poverty before embarking on a boxing career, said it was high time to fight for the poor and eradicate poverty.
He also warned corrupt officials of the Philippine government, claiming they “are nearing imprisonment.”
“Your time is up! We gave you a chance, but you failed us. We waited for a long time, decades have passed, but nothing happened,” rued Pacquiao.
According to the Pacquiao faction of the majority ruling party, about 10,000 grassroots members attended virtually.
Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) lost via unanimous decision to WBA “super” welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas last month in Las Vegas.
The 42-year-old was elected congressman of Sarangani in 2010 and as Senator of the Republic in 2016.
His boxing future was not discussed in the nomination, nor did he pick a running mate. PDP-Laban, however, gave Pacquiao free rein to pick his vice president and senatorial slate.
PDP-Laban’s other faction has nominated Senator Bong Go for president and President Rodrigo Duterte for vice-president. Go, however, declined the nomination, while Duterte signified his intention to run for vice-president. Under Philippine law, a sitting president cannot seek re-election.
Former Eastern Samar Governor Lutgardo Barbo was the other announcement of the party, as he bids for a Senate seat. He served as Senate Secretary under PDP-Laban National Chairman Koko Pimentel, when Pimentel was Senate President.
Pacquiao is the second individual to signify his intention to run for the highest political position in the country. Just a few weeks ago, fellow senators Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III announced their partnership for president and vice-president, respectively.