Pacquiao eyes perfect Senate attendance

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Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is all set for his greatest fight yet — at the Philippine Senate. Aside from vowing "perfect attendance", the boxing champion said he is interested in heading the committee on sports.

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao on Saturday vowed good attendance in the Senate.

He said this is one of the reasons he declined to participate in the Rio Olympic Games.

"Kung makaya nating i-perfect, bakit hindi?" Pacquiao said.

[Translation: If we can achieve a perfect attendance, why not?]

"Kaya nga hindi natin tinanggap 'yung Olympics dahil, sabi ko, mag-start pa lang. Excited ako dun sa trabaho ko tapos mawawala na naman ako. Sabi ko, nakakahiya sa taong bayan na naglagay sa akin sa posisyon tapos unang buwan ng serbisyo ko, wala ako."

[Translation: That’s why I did not accept the offer to play in the Olympics because I’m just starting on the job. I'm excited to work, but then participating in the Olympics means I'd be gone again for some time. I told myself, it would be embarrassing to those who elected me to the position to see me absent during my first month in office.]

Pacquiao, who's been criticized for his absences as Sarangani representative, arrived in Davao City Friday night to meet with incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.

He said he's here to express his support for the next president.

The boxing champ ran under Jejomar Binay's UNA, but he said he's always been a Duterte supporter and even encouraged the mayor to run for president.

But when Duterte failed to file his certificate of candidacy in October 2015, Pacquiao opted to join the UNA senatorial slate. Duterte was a last-minute substitute candidate of PDP-Laban.

Pacquiao said he's even open to joining PDP-Laban if necessary.

“Kung 'yan ang kwan para maipakita ang suporta kay Digong, why not? Pero kumbaga ang sinasabi ko, bakit isipin natin 'yung partido partido? Ang importante isipin natin 'yung para sa pagbabago,” said Pacquiao.

[Translation: If that's how I can show support for Digong, why not? But why should we think of parties? What's important is that we think of change.]

The 'people's champ' at the Senate

On his priorities as senator, Pacquiao said he is pushing for bills that will benefit the poor, including a measure that will give free education from elementary to college.

He is interested in heading the committee on sports.

To prepare for his new job, Pacquiao said he plans to study.

He enrolled in a short course on legislation and governance at the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Though he said he's enjoying his "retirement" from boxing, he said he still can't say if another fight is still possible.

"Hindi natin masabi pero, sa ngayon, ang nasa isip ko, sa focus ko ay pagtatrabaho," said Pacquiao.

[Translation: We can't say for sure, but for now, I am focused on my work.]

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