ছবি Reuters File Photo: Philippine boxing icon Manny “Pacman” poses for photographers during their press conference with Welterweight World title holder Lucas Mathis (not pictured) at a hotel in Pacquiao Cuala.
By Karen Lema
MANILA (Reuters) – Retired boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is the first candidate to become the next president of the Philippines, at the start of registration for thousands of political posts that could lead to a heated election in May next year. .
The week-long registration, usually a celebration with a large crowd, will be even quieter this year with a ban on fighting one of Asia’s deadliest covid-1 epidemics.
Pacquiao, who is joined by his wife and running mate, House Deputy Speaker Lito Aitenger, submitted his candidacy certificate to his constituency before speaking to the media before the election.
“My priority is to address the epidemic so that we can lead the economy to recovery,” said Pacquiao, who wore a maroon polo shirt and white mask and posed for pictures of himself and the Philippine flag.
On the way to the registration building, Pacquiao was greeted by dozens of supporters waiting on the side of the road and holding banners reading “Fight, Pacman.”
Pacquiao also said he was upset to see the results of a poll that put him in fourth place among the preferred presidential candidates: “The voices of the poor have not been heard.”
One of the greatest boxers of all time and the only person to have won world titles in eight different categories, Pacquiao also retired from boxing in September to run for president. He is a two-term congressman and currently a senator.
The months-long speculation that Firebrand president Rodrigo Duterte, 76, cannot be re-elected under the constitution and will instead run for vice president should come to an end.
With the exception of Pacquiao, two other rivals have expressed a desire to run for president. Manila Mayor Francisco “Isco Moreno” Domagosoa former actor and former police chief Senator Panfilo Laxon is expected to submit their certificates in the next few days.
But the president’s daughter, Sarah Duterte-Carpio, will be in the spotlight, despite not running for office the following year.
Uter-year-old Duterte-Carpio succeeded his father as mayor of Davao City, and he is the most popular president this year, according to opinion polls.
Analysts say his father’s successor is a loyalist, preventing him from taking possible legal action at home or at the International Criminal Court over thousands of state killings in the war on drugs since 2011.
Critics say his interest in the vice presidency is also a self-defense move. Duterte says his motivation is public service, not power.
Vice President Leni Robredo, who is leading the opposition, is also being urged by supporters to run for office.
“In the coming days, please pray with me so that our decision is best for our country,” he said.
In May 2022, more than 60 million Filipinos will vote for new presidents, vice presidents and more than 18,000 lawmakers and local government officials.
Candidates have until October 8 to register, but are allowed to withdraw and replace until November 15, leaving Duterte with a last-minute change of heart as he enters the 11th hour of the 2016 election, which he won by a wide margin.