Philippine boxer-turned-politician Manny Pacquiao declared Sunday he will run
for president in 2022, ending months of speculation about whether the legendary
fighter would seek the country’s top job.
“The time is now — we are ready to rise to the challenge of leadership,” said Pacquiao,
as he accepted the nomination of a rival faction in President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruling
The eight-division world champion and beloved national hero made the
announcement weeks after losing what could be his last professional fight against
Cuban Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao, who entered politics in 2010 as a congressman before being elected to
the Senate has long been expected to make a tilt for the country’s highest office.
The 42-year-old is deeply admired in the archipelago nation for his generosity
and hauling himself out of poverty to become one of the world’s greatest and
His boxing credentials along with fighting poverty and corruption are likely to be the
key themes of his campaign.
“For those asking what are my qualifications, have you ever experienced hunger?”
Pacquiao asked the national assembly held by the anti-Duterte faction of PDP-Laban.
“Have you ever experienced having nothing to eat, to borrow money from your
neighbors, or to wait for leftovers at a food stall? The Manny Pacquiao that is in
front of you was molded by poverty.”
Pacquiao’s star power in a country famed for its celebrity-obsessed politics will put
him in a strong position in the presidential race. But it will not guarantee victory.
Accepting the nomination, he said: “I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter
inside and outside the ring.”
Mr. Pacquiao has pledged to campaign against poverty and corruption.
He is a popular figure in his home country but faces an uphill battle, trailing in
opinion polls consistently topped by Sara Duterte-Carpio.
It is not clear which of the PDP-Laban factions will be recognized by the country’s
electoral commission for the 2022 election.