MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao vowed to join the campaign bandwagon of Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar after his March 13 fight with Ghana’s Joshua Clottey.
“Pagdating ko po sa Pilipinas, sasamahan ko po ang aking mahal na presidente na si Manny Villar para po introduce sa inyong lahat,” Pacquiao said in Filipino in a videotaped message shown during Villar’s concert rally in Mandaue City, Cebu Sunday night.
The pound-for-pound king is currently training in Los Angeles, California for his “The Event” bout.
Pacquiao will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Manny Pacquiao video message supporting Sen. Manny Villar (courtesy of Manny Villar's campaign staff)
The 7-division world champion, who is running for the Sarangani province congressional seat in May, then explained why he is supporting Villar.
“Ang tingin ko po, kailangan po natin ng taong may karanasan po na naging mahirap. Ako rin po ay galing sa hirap at isang sigaw po ng mahihirap na tao, kapag sumisigaw sila ng ‘tulong’ sa gobyerno, ako po ang unang nasasaktan,” he stated.
“Eto po si Manny Villar, siya po ang sagot sa ating mga problema dahil alam ko na galing siya sa hirap, kailangan natin ng isang lider na ang damdamin niya ay nasa pakiramdam ng mahihirap.”
Pacquiao’s videotaped message was shown by “Wowowee” host Willie Revillame as a surprise for Villar, who spoke to a crowd of more than 80,000 in a Cebu reclamation area.
The Filipino boxing icon stressed that Villar’s leadership can address the country’s poverty situation.
“Sa dami ng taon na lumipas, wala pa rin tayong pagbabago, lalo pa pong padami ng padami ang mga taong mahihirap at walang trabaho. Ang tingin ko po, kailangan po natin ng taong may karanasan po na naging mahirap,” he noted.
Value of Pacquiao endorsement
Based on a Pulse Asia survey last year, an endorsement by the Filipino boxing idol would have a value of at least 2% or at most 19%.
In the nationwide survey conducted October 22 to 30, 2009, 1,800 respondents were asked whether they would vote for a candidate if he or she were endorsed by Pacquiao.
The results showed that 2% of respondents said they would "surely vote for" a candidate endorsed by Pacquiao, while 19% said they would "probably vote for" a candidate he endorses.
On the other hand, 35% said they would "probably not vote for" a candidate endorsed by Pacquiao, while 36% said they would surely not vote for" a candidate endorsed by the People's Champ.
Five percent of respondents said a Pacquiao endorsement would have no effect, while 3% don't know or refused to answer the question.
The survey has a margin of error of plus/minus 2%.
Kris, Willie endorsements
The survey also showed that an endorsement by Sen. Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III's sister, Kris, would carry more weight with 45% saying they would surely or probably vote for Aquino's bet.
It also showed that an endorsement by Wowowee host Willie Revillame would also have a higher political value: 37% said they would surely vote or probably vote for a candidate endorsed by the popular TV show host. Revillame is also supporting Villar.
Based on the latest Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) survey commissioned by the Liberal Party camp, Aquino has regained his lead over Villar. (Read: Noynoy regains lead over Villar in new survey)
The survey of 3,000 respondents, conducted January 28 to February 3, 2010 showed Aquino with 41% support while his closest rival Villar got 30% or an 11 percentage point lead. TNS is a global market research firm with a branch in the Philippines.
The two leading contenders for the presidency were statistically tied in a Pulse Asia survey done a week before the TNS survey. (Read: Aquino, Villar tied in Pulse Asia survey)