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Boxer Manny Pacquiao to run for Philippine president in 2022


Manny Pacquiao

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

Boxing star Manny Pacquiao said on Sunday he will run for president of the Philippines next year, after railing against corruption in government and what he calls President Rodrigo Duterte’s cozy relationship with China.

Pacquiao accepted the nomination of his political allies during the national assembly of the faction he leads in the ruling PDP-Laban Party, days after a rival faction nominated Duterte’s long-time aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, as its presidential candidate.

This faction elected Duterte vice president. Critics said it was a deliberate ploy by Duterte in order to stay power.

Go refused the nomination. However, the tension between Duterte’s and Pacquiao factions has grown.

Pacquiao (42), a senator said, “I’m a fighter and I will always fight inside and outside of the ring.” “I accept your nomination for the presidency of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Manny Pacquiao takes aim at Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their welterweight unification champion bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. May 2, 2015.

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Pacquiao’s faction has not expressed support for Duterte’s vice-presidential bid. Duterte cannot run for another six-year term in office as president.

Pacquiao is considered one of the best boxers and holds eight world title in different divisions. He was silent about his 26 year professional career.

Despite his popularity, Pacquiao trails the front-runners in opinion polls that have been topped consistently by Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio.

In July, Pacquiao was voted out as PDP-Laban leader, weeks after challenging Duterte over his position on China and record on fighting corruption, but his ouster was rejected by his faction.

Pacquiao, once a close ally of Duterte, had said more than 10 billion pesos ($200 million) in pandemic aid intended for poor families was unaccounted for, adding this was just one discovery in his planned corruption investigation.

As the Senate opens an investigation into allegations of overpriced medical supplies and equipment under its pandemic response program, Pacquiao’s anti-corruption mission comes just as it is opening an investigation.

Duterte asked Pacquiao for names of corrupt government officials to show that Pacquiao was not just playing politics ahead of the elections.

Pacquiao responded by warning that corruption of government officials would land him in jail.