Boxer Manny Pacquiao to run for president of Philippines in 2022

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Pacquiao has asked the people of the Philippines to support him in his bid to be the president  (AP)
Pacquiao has asked the people of the Philippines to support him in his bid to be the president (AP)

Manny Pacquiao has said that he will run for president in the Philippines’ elections next year, and pledged to fight poverty and corruption after the rule of brutal populist incumbent Rodrigo Duterte.

The Filipino boxing icon and senator accepted the nomination of his PDP-Laban party – which he leads with Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III – at its national convention today.

In his speech, he said that the people of the Philippines have been waiting for a change of government, and warned politicians that he holds reponsible for corruption that they “will soon end in jail together”.

The 42-year-old is deemed to be one of the greatest boxers of all time, and has defeated 22 world champions.

In his speech addressing the Filipino people, he said: “I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring.”

He added: “I wholeheartedly, bravely, and humbly hope for your support.”

In response to what appeared to be criticisms that he is not experienced enough to be president, Pacquiao said that his childhood experience would stand him in good stead in understanding the widespread problem of poverty.

According to a biography online, he moved to Manila at the age of 14 and lived on the streets. He worked as a construction worker and had to choose between eating or sending money to his mother, who had five other children.

Pacquiao, a married father-of-five, formally entered the world of politics in 2007 before completing a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2019.

He has also enlisted in the military reserves, set up a semi-professional basketball league, featured in films and TV shows, and released albums of music. He has also been an evangelical Christian preacher, philathropist, businessman, socialite, and YouTube personality.

But, if he is successful in his latest goal to become president, he could run into more conflict with Duterte.

Another faction of the same party earlier this month nominated Duterte – who is forbidden by the constitution from seeking a second six-year term – to be its vice presidential candidate.

Pacquiao has accused the administration of Durterte, his former ally, of making corruption worse in the Philippines.

Duterte said last week he would rather “die first” before facing an international tribunal over his brutal campaign against illegal drugs.

He made the comments a day after the International Criminal Court announced it would investigate allegations of crimes against humanity linked to the crackdown that has left thousands dead.

The rival party faction supporting Duterte has said it will petition the Commission on Elections to declare Pacquiao and his allies illegitimate officers of the ruling party.

Duterte’s former aide Senator Bong Go was nominated for president, which he declined.

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