Pacquiao declares presidential bid in 2022 polls

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — Senator Manny Pacquiao on Sunday announced he will run for president in the 2022 elections.

He officially accepted the nomination to be standard-bearer of the PDP-Laban camp which he co-leads with Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

"I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring," the boxing icon said during his nomination speech at the PDP-Laban group's national assembly.

"Sa ngalan ng mga kababayan natin na matagal nang naghahangad ng tamang pagbabago sa ating pamahalaan, tapat na panunungkulan at serbisyo sa mamamayang Pilipino, buong puso ko po, buong tapang at kababaang loob ay umaasa po ako sa inyong suporta," he added.

[Translation: In the name of our fellow countrymen long asking for the right change in governance and true service to the Filipino people, I wholeheartedly, bravely, and humbly hope for your support.]

Responding to critics questioning his qualifications to run for the top government post, Pacquiao said having experienced poverty himself will better equip him to lead the nation.

Pacquiao first won a seat in the House of Representatives in 2010 as a congressman representing the province of Sarangani. He was re-elected in 2013, before he ran and won a senatorial post in the 2016 elections.

During the assembly, the PDP-Laban faction gave him the authority to choose his running mate and members of their senatorial slate for the upcoming polls, but he has yet to announce names.

The lawmaker also gave a word of warning against unscrupulous politicians. He previously accused the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, his former ally, of being more corrupt than its predecessor.

“Malapit na kayong magsama-sama sa kulungan [You’ll soon all end up in jail together]," he warned. "Your time is up."

In his own speech before Pacquiao's announcement, Pimentel said that whatever happens, their candidate will join the presidential race. Earlier, the PDP-Laban faction headed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi filed a petition before the Commission on Elections to declare Pacquiao and his allies as "illegitimate officers" of the ruling party.

"Kahit ano man ang mangyari, itong ating ipo-proclaim ngayong araw ay kandidato na ng PDP-Laban pagka-pangulo ng ating bansa," Pimentel said. "Uulitin ko, kahit ano man ang mangyari."

[Translation: Whatever happens, the person we will proclaim today will be PDP-Laban's presidential candidate. I repeat, whatever happens.]

The Cusi-led faction endorsed Senator Bong Go and President Rodrigo Duterte as their presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively. Duterte accepted the nomination, while Go declined.

Besides Pacquiao, only Senator Panfilo Lacson has confirmed his presidential bid, with Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III as his running mate.