Filipino boxer, Manny Pacquiao, has announced that he will run for President of the Philippines in the 2022 elections. A section of the ruling party PDP-Laban nominated the 42-year-old senator in the Philippines’ parliament.
Pacquiao has repeatedly chastised incumbent Rodrigo Duterte, who is prevented from seeking re-election to a second six-year term by the Philippine constitution. Pacquiao and Duterte were previously pals, but in recent months, Pacquiao has accused Duterte of corruption on numerous occasions.
The boxer’s announcement comes only days after Duterte’s supporters chose close ally Christopher “Bong” Go as his successor. Despite the fact that Go has denied the nomination, the party is urging him to reconsider.
Due to Duterte’s ineligibility to run for president, his party sponsored his campaign to become the country’s vice president, a move that has been widely criticized. The boxer had previously been out-voted for the position of party president due to a growing schism between himself and the Pacquiao groups. Duterte is the party’s chairman.
At Sunday’s national assembly of the faction Pacquiao leads, he called out the president’s “cosy relationship” with China.
“I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring,” said Pacquiao in a live-streamed speech. “I am accepting your nomination as candidate for president of the Republic of the Philippines.”
Pacquiao is widely regarded as one of the all-time best boxers. He is the only man who has won titles in all eight divisions. He has a 62-win record, eight-loss record, and two-draw record. He returned to the ring on August 22 after a two-year layoff, but was defeated by Yordenis Ugas of Cuba in the welterweight division. Pacquiao hinted after the loss that he was thinking about retiring from the sport for good. His attention is now firmly focused on his country’s anti-corruption fight.
Despite his popularity in the Philippines, Pacquiao is not expected to have it easy in the elections. Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is the mayor of Davao City and a top leader in her father’s faction, has been consistently leading the opinion polls.
Should the PDP-Laban rejects Pacquiao’s presidential campaign, he might run as an independent, potentially splitting the party’s support. As things stand, the electoral commission has yet to decide which of the two factions will be recognized in the 2022 election.