Will Senator-elect Pacquiao run for president in 2022?

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

The Commission on Election proclaims boxing champ Manny Pacquiao as one of the 12 winning senators at the PICC on Thursday. Photo by Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Retired boxing champion Manny Pacquiao downplayed talks about him aspiring to become the country’s chief executive in the future.

Pacquiao, 37, who was proclaimed senator-elect on Thursday after garnering more than 16 million votes, said in an interview on radio DZMM that becoming president remains far from his mind as of now.

Pacquiao can already seek the presidency in 2022 when he would be 43 years old. A Philippine president must be at least 40 years old on the day of the election.

“Wala po sa isip ko yan,” was Pacquiao’s response while laughing after being asked about the presidency. 

“Alam nyo, yung posisyon na ‘yan, sa totoo lang hindi ka mailagay kung gustuhin lang yan without the approval of God,” added Pacquiao, a practicing evangelical Protestant.

The former eight-division world champion said becoming the country’s top leader is like a date with destiny.

“Kung destined ka dyan, you are destined to become a president; if not, hindi mo pwedeng pilitin,” said Pacquiao.

The Filipino boxing hero retired shortly after beating Timothy Bradley last April to become a full-time politician.

Pacquiao ran for the Senate under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) ticket of losing presidential candidate Jejomar Binay and received more than 16 million votes to rank seventh among the 12 winning senators. 

He vowed to become active in the legislature after being criticized for his absences in House sessions during his two terms as Sarangani congressman.

Pacquiao also said he is also prepared to do verbal sparring in the Senate if he needs to participate in interpellations. 

“Kung ano po yung nararapat gawin, gagawin po natin, mapa-English man o Tagalog basta maintindihan ng taong bayan,” he said.

But Pacquiao admitted he would rather debate in Filipino so his constituents will be able to understand him better. 

“Mas maganda nga sigurong i-less ang English, maraming Tagalog para yung mga maliliit na mamamayan natin maintindihan,” he said.

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