Manny Pacquiao has said he will run for president in next year’s Philippines elections, and vowed to fight poverty and corruption following the regime of brutal populist Rodrigo Duterte.
The Filipino boxing icon and senator accepted the nomination of his PDP-Laban party – which he leads with Senator Aquilino “Coco” Pimentel III – at their national convention today.
In his speech, he said the people of the Philippines were waiting for a change of government, and warned politicians responsible for corruption that they would “soon end up in jail together”.
The 42-year-old is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, and has defeated 22 world champions.
In his speech addressed to the Filipino people, he said: “I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter in and out of the ring.”
He continued: “I look forward to your support wholeheartedly, bravely, and humbly.”
Responding to criticism that he did not have enough experience to be president, Pacquiao said that his childhood experience would put him in a good position to understand the wider problem of poverty.
According to a biography online, he moved to Manila at the age of 14 and started living on the streets. He worked as a construction worker and had to choose between food or sending money to his mother, who had five other children.
Pacquiao, a married father of five children, formally entered the world of politics in 2007 before completing his bachelor’s degree in political science in 2019.
He has also enlisted in the military, founded a semi-professional basketball league, featured in films and TV shows, and released music albums. He has also been an evangelical Christian preacher, philanthropist, businessman, socialite, and YouTube personality.
But, if he succeeds in his latest goal of becoming president, he may have further conflict with Duterte.
Another faction of the same party earlier this month nominated Duterte – who is prohibited by the constitution from seeking a second six-year term – as its vice presidential candidate.
Pacquiao has accused the administration of his former ally, Duterte, of worsening corruption in the Philippines.
Duterte said last week that he would “prefer to die first” before facing an international tribunal over his brutal campaign against illegal drugs.
His remarks came a day after the International Criminal Court announced that it would investigate allegations of crimes against humanity linked to an action that has killed thousands.
A rival party faction backing Duterte has said it will petition the Election Commission to declare Pacquiao and his allies as illegitimate officials of the ruling party.
Duterte’s former ally, Senator Bong Go, was nominated for the presidency, which he declined.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /