It’s official: Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao will run for president next year.
The boxing champion was the unanimous choice of what he called the “grassroots members” of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) during the party’s national assembly on Sunday.
“Yes, I accept,” Pacquiao said when PDP-Laban chairman Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel asked if he was ready to step up to the challenge.
His nomination as standard bearer for the May 2022 polls came almost two weeks after the rival faction led by Energy chief Alfonso Cusi named President Rodrigo Duterte as its candidate for vice president while Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go was chosen as presidential bet.
“I’m a fighter and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring. Sa buong buhay ko wala akong laban na inatrasan (All my life, there was no fight I backed out from),” Pacquiao in his acceptance speech.
“Sa laban ng prinsipyo at karangalan ng bayan ay tumayo ako nanindigan at nakikipaglaban (I have always stood my ground and fought when it comes to [my] principle and honor of the country,” he added.
Pimentel expressed confidence that his group will triumph over the Cusi-led wing.
“Malaki ang posibilidad na mananalo tayo sa darating na halalan. Ang tunay na PDP-Laban ang magpapatakbo ng ating gobyerno (There is a big possibility that we will win in the coming election. The real PDP-Laban will run the government),” Pimentel said.