© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Philippine boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao poses for photographers throughout a information convention with welterweight world title holder Lucas Matthysse (not pictured), for his or her upcoming WBA “common” welterweight title combat, at a lodge in Kuala
By Karen Lema
MANILA (Reuters) – Newly retired boxing icon Manny Pacquiao was the primary to file his candidacy to be the subsequent president of the Philippines in the beginning of registration for hundreds of political posts in what is predicted to be a hotly contested election in Might subsequent yr.
The week-long registrations, normally a festive occasion with huge crowds, can be extra sober this yr with restrictions in place to combat one among Asia’s deadliest COVID-19 epidemics.
Pacquiao, who was joined by his spouse and operating mate, home deputy speaker Lito Atienza, submitted his certificates of candidacy to the ballot physique with out fanfare, earlier than saying a number of phrases to the media about his plans ought to he get elected.
“My precedence is to resolve the pandemic so we will drive the financial system to restoration,” mentioned Pacquiao, who was sporting a maroon polo shirt and a white face masks together with his and the Philippine flag’s picture.
On his method to the registration constructing, Pacquiao was greeted by dozens of supporters ready by the roadside and waving banners that learn “Struggle, Pacman.”
Pacquiao mentioned he was unperturbed by the outcomes of an opinion ballot exhibiting him in fourth spot amongst most popular presidential contenders, saying: “The voices of the poor haven’t been heard.”
One of many best boxers of all time and the one man to carry world titles in eight completely different divisions, Pacquiao retired from boxing in September to run for the presidency. He’s a two-term congressman and at present senator.
The registration course of ought to put an finish to months of hypothesis over who will vie to succeed firebrand President Rodrigo Duterte, 76, who below the structure can not search re-election and can contest the vice presidency race as an alternative.
Apart from Pacquiao, two different contenders have declared their intention to run for president. Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagosoa former actor, and Senator Panfilo Lacson, an ex police chief, had been anticipated to file their certificates within the following days.
However the highlight can be on Sara Duterte-Carpio, the president’s daughter, regardless of her ruling out operating for the workplace subsequent yr.
Duterte-Carpio, 43, changed her father as Davao Metropolis mayor when he grew to become president, and she or he stays by far the most well-liked presidential prospect, in line with successive opinion polls this yr.
Analysts say it’s essential her father’s successor is a loyalist, to insulate him from potential authorized motion at house or by the Worldwide Prison Courtroom, over the hundreds of state killings in his struggle on medicine since 2016.
Critics say his curiosity within the vice presidency can be a self-preservation transfer. Duterte says his motivation is public service, not energy.
Vice chairman, Leni Robredo, who leads the opposition, can be being urged by supporters to run for the highest publish.
“Within the coming days, please pray with me in order that our choice can be what’s finest for our nation,” she mentioned.
Greater than 60 million Filipinos will vote in Might 2022 for a brand new president, vice chairman, and greater than 18,000 lawmakers and native authorities officers.
Candidates have till Oct. 8 to register, however withdrawals and substitutions are allowed till Nov. 15, leaving scope for last-minute modifications of coronary heart, just like the eleventh hour entry of Duterte for the 2016 election, which he received by an enormous margin.