Banking on his Cebuano ancestry, presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao on Monday chose Cebu province to be the last place for his trips before the formal start of the campaign period.
He attended a groundbreaking ceremony of a housing project situated at Sitio Matimco-Malibu, Brgy. Subangdaku in Mandaue City.
He was given the title of “Ambassador for the homeless and vulnerable” by philanthropic organization Spring Rain Global during the event.
“Mas malapit ako sa mga Cebuano dahil taga-Cebu rin ako,” said Pacquiao, noting that his family came from the town of Pinamungajan in southwestern Cebu.
The boxing legend said he will not back down from the presidential race despite detractors asking him to do so.
“Sila ang (dapat) umatras dahil sa akin, laban ng bayan ito. Laban ng taong bayan,” he added.
He said his campaign strategy will focus on his plans and programs, one of which is building houses in slum areas.
Pacquiao refused to comment on pastor Apollo Quiboloy's inclusion in the FBI's list of wanted persons.
“Mag 'no comment' na ako diyan at sinasang-ayon ko na sa Panginoon ang lahat,” the senator said.
Last year, Pacquiao filed a P100-million libel and cyberlibel case against the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ ,who claimed that the boxer-lawmaker had a P3.5-billion project in his home province Sarangani.
The senator denied all allegations of Quiboloy, who is wanted in the US for allegations of "conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and sex trafficking of children; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; conspiracy; bulk cash smuggling."
Pacquiao worked as Sarangani representative from 2010 to 2016 before being elected as senator.
— Report from Annie Perez