Speaker to Pacquiao: Run for senator first

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2013 03:53 PM | Updated as of Jul 29 2013 11:54 PM

MANILA - House Speaker Sonny Belmonte is encouraging Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao to run for senator first before aspiring for the presidency.

Belmonte reacted to Pacquiao's statement over the media that he may consider running for the country's most powerful post.

He said Pacquiao would do well to first train as a a senator.

"Mag aspire muna siya for senador. Wag naman presidente agad. Magsenador muna siya. Training muna tayo sa senatorial level," he said.

Pacquiao, who is in his mid-30s, would fall short of the constitutional age requirement of 40 years old for a candidate for the presidency by 2016, the year of the next presidential election.

Belmonte also advised the pugilist-lawmaker to focus on his upcoming boxing match with Brandon Rios.

For his part, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez defended Pacquiao for expressing interest in the presidency.

He said that in a democracy, the President can come from any sector.

Rodriguez pointed out that Pacquiao merely expressed interest and that ultimately, the presidency is something voters will decide.

He also pointed out Pacquiao will not have reached the age requirement of 40 by 2016, which means Pacquiao will probably seek a lower government position by that year.