Filipino online users urged each other to “vote wisely” in the 2022 presidential elections following claims that boxing champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao would run for the presidency.
In an online video of TalkSport, Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum—who served as the athlete-politician’s promoter before—claimed that the boxing legend was allegedly planning to run as the next Philippine president.
Arum in the undated video talked with World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman.
“The first president I think we’ll get, as a fighter, is Manny Pacquiao,” Arum said.
“(He) told me, once again, I did a Zoom telephone call with him, ‘Bob, I’m gonna run in 2022, and when I win, I want you there at my inauguration,'” he added.
Zoom is a popular video conferencing platform used to communicate with a group of people especially amid government-imposed lockdowns.
Apparently, Arum has been reportedly predicting that Pacquiao will run in the highest public office as early as 2015.
President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017 also quipped that he wanted the Filipino boxing legend to be the next president but by 2019, he took back his words and said that Pacquaio should think about it carefully.
Pacquiao entered the political landscape in 2007 but it was only in 2010 when he was able to secure a position as a representative of Sarangani, the hometown of his wife Jinkee.
He was elected a senator in 2016 after running under the ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan. His term will end in 2022.
Meanwhile, while others lauded the boxing champion’s plan to run for the presidency, there were those who questioned his capability as they cited his performance in the legislative body as a senator.
“Pacquiao is thinking of running as president in the 2022 elections. Hindi pagkatao ang pinaguusapan dito but his capability. He can’t even defend his stand during debates,” a Twitter user commented.
“May this be a reminder not to make the same mistake you did in 2016. Please vote wisely sa #Halalan2022,” she added.
“So, Pacquiao is planning to run for president this 2022 elections? I hope Filipinos won’t make the same mistake again, 2016 elections was a nightmare and it still haunts me up to this day. We don’t want another homophobe, who’s clearly ill-equipped, lead this country,” tweeted another online user.
Duterte, who has been tagged as one of the most controversial strongmen in the country, won the presidency in the 2016 elections which have been marred with issues of malfunctioning voting machines amid the automated elections.
“I salute Pacquiao’s compassion for the people, and as our pride as an athlete, but not his capability of running for the presidency. Pls. vote WISELY this 2022. We should take (into) consideration the future of our country when voting for the next leader,” another Filipino said.
Others urged young people who are already qualified to vote to exercise their right to suffrage and register in offices of the Commission on Elections in July.
now that we know Manny Pacquiao will be running for presidency, we should NOT let him win lmaoo be a registered voter and vote wisely!
— łegal ałienㅤㅤ👽 (@alpblanco) June 8, 2020
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that registration for new voters would resume in July. Those eligible to vote are Filipino citizens who are at least 18-years-old and have been residing in the country for at least one year.
The next national and local elections would happen on May 9, 2022.
Pacquiao as lawmaker
Pacquiao as a lawmaker was known for his poor attendance record in plenary sessions and his controversial stances in issues such as same-sex marriages and the revival of the death penalty in the justice system.
The boxing champion, who is also a devout Christian, has also repeatedly pushed for the reinstatement of capital punishment using the Holy Bible.
Pacquiao has also been criticized for his homophobic slurs that resulted in him losing a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike.
Critics have also accused him of prioritizing movie appearances despite his position as an elected public official who is supposed to focus on serving the people.