Pacquiao says likely to run for senator

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 11 2014 03:09 AM | Updated as of Apr 11 2014 11:10 AM

LAS VEGAS – Even if he didn't want to, Manny Pacquiao talked politics just three days before a very dangerous fight against reigning WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley.

Pacquiao, a second-term congressman from Sarangani in Mindanao, was asked about his political plans prior to Wednesday’s final press conference at the MGM.

The national elections in the Philippines are set in May 2016 and even before he left the Philippines to train for the coming fight, word was that he would run for senator in the next election.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, a close friend of Pacquiao’s, has listed the boxer in his senatorial slate for 2016.

But Pacquiao chose not to give any definite answer, saying he still had to think things over.

Asked by the foreign press here, the 35-year-old Pacquiao said he’s close to formalizing his bid for a senatorial post in the next polls.

“It’s eighty percent,” said Pacquiao, who was asked what the age requirement was for those who want to run for senator and for president.

Pacquiao was also asked how many members there are in the Senate and Congress. He gave the right answers.

But can he be a senator and still box at the same time?

Pacquiao laughed hard and paused, then said, “The work of a congressman and senator is almost the same.”

To have a better chance at 2016, it would be better for him to continue winning inside the boxing ring, including Saturday’s big fight against Bradley.

But Pacquiao doesn’t think so.

“This fight will not affect my politics. My journey will continue,” he said.

Last week, Pacquiao met former US President Bill Clinton when they appeared in the popular TV program “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in Hollywood.

He said Clinton was too nice to recall their first meeting here in Las Vegas five years ago.

In 2011, he also had the chance to meet President Barack Obama at the Oval Office, and went home with bags of chocolates and other White House memorabilia.

Pacquiao said he invited Obama to watch his fight then, against American Shane Mosley, but was told by the President he was busy and would rather watch the fight on pay-per-view.

Pacquiao dominated Mosley in that fight and won.

An American scribe asked Pacquiao who was better to talk to between Clinton and Obama.

The question caught Pacquiao by surprise and his American publicist, Fred Sternburg, who stood by the podium, said in jest, “Better not answer that question.”

Pacquiao made faces and it took him a few seconds before saying, “Both of them.”

That answer brought the house down.

Seriously, Pacquiao said boxing is different from politics but that both are so important to him.

“Boxing is sports and entertainment while politics is about serving the people. That’s the difference but both are important,” he said.

Then, again, he tried to veer away from the 2016 elections. Besides, it’s still two years away.

“It’s not in my mind right now. My focus is my position as congressman and how I can serve good and how to perform,” he said.