Boxer Manny Pacquiao to run for President of the Philippines in 2022


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  • Pacquiao accepts nomination from party allies
  • Boxer pledges to end government corruption

MANILA, Sept. 19 (Reuters) – Boxing star Manny Pacquiao said on Sunday he would run for president of the Philippines next year, after speaking out against corruption in the government and what he calls relations intimate friends of President Rodrigo Duterte with China.

Pacquiao accepted the nomination of his political allies at the national assembly of the faction he leads within the ruling PDP-Laban party, days after a rival faction appointed Duterte’s longtime aide , Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, as presidential candidate.

This faction appointed Duterte to the post of vice president, a move that critics have called Duterte’s cynical ploy to retain power.

Go declined the nomination, but the rift between the Pacquiao and Duterte factions grew.

“I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter in and out of the ring,” Pacquiao, 42, a senator, said in a speech broadcast live at the meeting. “I accept your nomination as the presidential candidate of the Republic of the Philippines.”

The Pacquiao faction has not expressed support for Duterte’s candidacy for vice-presidency. Duterte is constitutionally prohibited from running for a second six-year term as president.

Filipino senator and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao reads his briefing materials as he prepares for the Senate session in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on September 20, 2016. Photo taken September 20, 2016. REUTERS / Erik De Castro / File Photo

One of the greatest boxers of all time and the only man to hold world titles in eight different divisions, Pacquiao was a mom to his 26-year professional career.

Despite his popularity, Pacquiao is behind the top in opinion polls which have been consistently dominated by Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.

In July, Pacquiao was elected leader of the PDP-Laban, weeks after challenging Duterte over his stance on China and his anti-corruption record, 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 for poor families was nowhere to be found, adding that it was only a discovery in his corruption investigation.

Its anti-corruption crusade comes as the Senate has opened an investigation into allegations of overpricing of medical supplies and equipment purchased as part of the government’s pandemic response program.

Duterte challenged Pacquiao to name corrupt government offices to prove the boxer wasn’t just playing politics before the election.

Pacquiao responded by warning of jail time for corrupt government officials, “Your time is up!

Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Edmund Klamann and William Mallard

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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