FILIPINO boxer turned Senator Manny Pacquiao has declared his presidential bid in the Philippines’ 2022 national elections.
Over the weekend, he officially accepted the nomination to be standard-bearer of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) faction that he co-leads with Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
“Yes, I accept [the nomination],” Pacquiao said during the party’s 11th National Assembly held Sunday, September 19.
“I am a fighter and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring. Sa buong buhay ko, wala akong laban na inaatrasan dahil sa ngalan ng prinsipyo, karangalan ng bayan ay tumayo ako, nanindigan at nakikipaglaban (In my entire life, I have never backed down from a fight as I stand firm in the name of principle and honor of country),” he added.
During his speech, Pacquiao also addressed his critics questioning his ability to run for president.
“Sa mga nagtatanong kung ano ang ating kakayahan, naranasan niyo na bang magutom… walang makain… mangutang sa kapitbahay o mag-abang ng tira sa karinderya (To those asking what my qualifications are, have you experienced hunger… having nothing to eat… borrowing money from your neighbors or waiting for leftovers from eateries)?” he said.
The boxer added, “Ang Manny Pacquiao na nasa harap ninyo ngayon ay pinanday ng hirap… Ang Manny Pacquiao na pilit nilang pinababagsak ay ilang beses nang bumangon, nagsikap at nagtagumpay (The Manny Pacquiao in front of you today was forged by poverty… The Manny Pacquiao that they have been trying to take down has risen back up many times, worked hard, and won).”
According to Pacquiao, he will be fighting against corruption and poverty in the country.
“Panahon na upang manalo naman ang mga naaapi. Panahon na para makabangon ang bayan natin na lugmok sa kahirap. Panahon na nang isang malinis na gobyerno na kung saan ang bawat sentimo ay mapupunta sa bawat Pilipino (It is now the time for the oppressed to win. It is now the time for our nation to rise from poverty. It is now the time for a clean government where every centavo goes to every Filipino),” he said.
Pacquiao also warned corrupt officials that their time “is up.”
“Sa mga nanunungkulan sa ating pamahalaan na patuloy na nagsasamantala at nagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan, malipat na kayong magsama-sama sa kulungan (To those serving in government who continue to exploit and steal from the country’s coffers, you will find yourselves in jail soon),” he said. “Your time is up.”
The PDP-Laban faction authorized Pacquaio to choose his running mate and members of their senatorial slate, but he has yet to announce names.
Pacquiao is the second politician to announce his presidential candidacy after Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
In response to Pacquiao’s presidential bid, the rival faction of PDP-Laban led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi called it “illegal.”
“Ngayon po, ‘yung naging pulong na ‘to illegal ‘to (This assembly is illegal). They can be declared to be a candidate but not as a PDP-Laban candidate,” Cusi group Secretary General Melvin Matibag said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
He also suggested that Pacquiao use his other affiliated political parties instead, saying the majority of PDP-Laban doesn’t support him.
“Tutal mayroon naman siyang ibang partidaong sinasamahan, baka naman gusto niya ‘yun na gamitin niyang partido sapagkat dito sa PDP-Laban, nakita naman niya na wala nang suporta ng grupo, ng malalaking grupo (Since he has other parties, maybe he can just use those because here in PDP-Laban, he does not have the support of the majority),” said Matibag.
Earlier, the Cusi faction nominated Senator Bong Go and President Rodrigo Duterte as its standard-bearer and vice presidential candidate, respectively, for next year’s elections.
Duterte accepted the nomination, officially launching his bid to run for vice president. Go, on the other hand, declined.