Pacquiao close to presidency with 16 million votes in senate polls

Boxing great Manny Pacquiao moved a step closer to the presidency of the Philippines after winning a senate seat on Thursday.

At the proclamation ceremony, an elections commissioner introduced Pacquiao as the ‘people’s champion’ and called out his name in the same slow style with which he used to be greeted in the ring prior to his world title bouts.

The Filipino super featherweight garnered more than 16million votes, making him the seventh most popular of the 12 new members of the senate, a traditional springboard to the presidency.

Earlier this year, he said that he planned to retire from boxing to become a full-time politician.

Asked if his next target is the presidency, Pacquiao smiled and said ‘nothing, nothing, nothing’ as he left the induction ceremony.

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Considered a hero in the Asian country, which grinds to a halt during his televised fights to watch him box, Pacquiao has indicated in the past he would consider a run for the presidency. But he has often tried to ditch the topic, saying he was too young.

The Philippine constitution requires presidential candidates to be at least 40 years old, meaning Pacquiao, at 37, would be eligible to run in the next election in 2022.

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He has represented southern Sarangani province in the House of Representatives since May 2010, but he has been criticised for rarely showing up for legislative duties due to his preoccupation with boxing and is regarded as a political lightweight.

He told reporters he was still thinking whether to participate in the Olympics in August because he might be criticised again for being absent from the Senate.

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‘I need to ask if the Filipino people will allow me to participate in the Olympics,’ he said.

Pacquiao said he would support the proposal by president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to re-impose the death penalty in the Philippines, while opposing any proposed divorce legislation.

In a populist stance, he said the first bill he would file would grant free education for children from poor families.

Pacquiao ran for the Senate under the ticket of losing presidential candidate Jejomar Binay, but was also endorsed by Duterte.

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During his senatorial campaign, Pacquiao bounced back impressively after a huge drop in support from his remarks in February that people in same-sex relations are ‘worse than animals.’

He later apologised to those hurt by his comments but made it clear he opposed same-sex marriage.

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In a populist stance, he said the first bill he would file would grant free education for children from poor families.

Pacquiao ran for the Senate under the ticket of losing presidential candidate Jejomar Binay, but was also endorsed by Duterte.

During his senatorial campaign, Pacquiao bounced back impressively after a huge drop in support from his remarks in February that people in same-sex relations are ‘worse than animals.’

He later apologised to those hurt by his comments but made it clear he opposed same-sex marriage.


By: Daily Mail

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