(UPDATE) PROMDI party standard bearer Senator Manny Pacquiao said he remains true to his promise that he will remain a presidential candidate.
Contrary to what Albay Congressman Joey Salceda said that the boxer-turned-politician will also make a big announcement on November 15, Pacquiao said he will not change his mind.
“Tingnan mo, 'yung mga ganyang pulitiko. Ang taumbayan na ang mag-evaluate, mag-assess kung anong klaseng tao, anong klase kang pulitiko. Gusto natin ng totoo. Ako, hindi ko kayang gawin yun, hindi ko kayang gawin sa kapwa ko,” Pacquiao said, in an apparent swipe at candidates substituting at the last minute.
“Sinabi ko naman na hindi ako trapo mag-isip, hindi ako trapo na pulitiko. Totoo ako. Pag sinabi ko, sinabi ko. Sinabi kong hindi ako tatakbong vice president, hindi ako tatakbong vice president. Pag sinabi kong tatakbo ako, tatakbo ako. Nakapag-desisyon na ako eh. Meron ba kay Manny Pacquiao na umatras?” he added.
Asked for his reaction on the possibility that President Rodrigo Duterte will challenge the vice presidential bid next year of his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Pacquiao said: “Sabagay, lahat naman may karapatang tumakbo. So walang problema.”
He said the will of the people will prevail in the end.
“Ang taumbayan ang pipili. Alam na nila kung ano ang gagawin nila. Nararamdaman ko sa puso ng taumbayan na gusto ng tunay na pagbabago, na hindi pabola-bola lang,” Pacquiao said.
Pressed on what he was thinking when he repeatedly blinked his eyes upon hearing the Duterte father and daughter squaring it off in the VP race, Pacquiao said: “Maglalaban yung mag-ama? Parang unsual yata yung narinig ko.”
Pacquiao staged a second visit to Cebu City on Saturday, to gather more support from volunteer groups, religious leaders and businessmen.
Cebu represents more than 3.2 million voters.
He again promised to get rid of corruption, and that he plans to construct a “mega-prison” that will house the corrupt in case he wins the presidency.
He reiterated his 3-to-5-year time frame to distribute free housing to his target beneficiaries.
“Itong sinasabi kong pabahay, hindi ito pangako lang. No, ginagawa ko ito, itutuloy ko na lang ang ginagawa ko, na sinimulan ko nung 2005,” Pacquiao, in an interview, said.
He plans to source the money from government funds pocketed by corrupt officials which he vowed to recover actively should he become president.
The recently retired boxer said there will be more job opportunities for Filipinos through the help of his billionaire friends.
“Gusto ko sa bansa natin, trabaho ang maghahanap sa tao, hindi tao ang maghahanap ng trabaho… May lima hanggang walo akong kaibigang bilyonaryo sa ibang country na nangakong magi-invest sa Pilpinas 'pag ako ang naging president. Ibig sabihin nun, maraming bagong trabaho,” Pacquiao said.
The senator, meantime, just shrugged off the entry of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the vice presidential race, saying that everyone who wants to serve the country is free to do so, since it will be the electorate who will decide in the end.
Pacquiao, however, issued a strong appeal to the electorate.
“Yung sinasabi ko, hindi lang tayo pwedeng mangako nang mangako nang mangako, tapos pagdating ng panahon wala naman. Kasi mahirap kasi yung... Alam n'yo, kung ako tanungin, sabihin ko, yung mga tao isipin nila, kasi sa umpisa pa lang marami na nagsisinungaling eh. Yung walang takot magsinungaling, eh delikado yun,” he said .
“Ang hiling ko lang naman sa taumbayan na, mag-iisp tayong mabuti. Pag-isipan nating mabuti kasi parang pinaglalaruan na lang tayo. Pinaglaruan 'yung taumbayan. Sige lahat ng mga pangako, pwedeng ipangako, before election para maiboto lang, pero may pangako bang natupad?” he added.
As Pacquiao met political leaders at Hotel Fortuna and bared his platforms , crowds formed outside, expressing support for the presidential aspirant.
"Pacquiao kami kasi magaling na tao... Idol ko 'yan," said Henry Aoayan.
(I'm supporting Pacquiao because he's a great person... He's my idol.)
Policemen, who attempted to disperse the crowd, said they did not expect so many people to troop to the venue.
"Hindi naman agad na-foresee kasi 'yong crowd, hindi pa ganito kadami," one of the cops said.
Past 10 in the evening, people refused to leave the area without seeing Pacquiao, prompting the political aspirant to wave to them from a window on the hotel's third floor.
As his service vehicle wormed its way through the crowd, Pacquiao momentarily stopped to wave again at the people, resulting in a fiesta-like scene.
Pacquiao is scheduled to meet with medical professionals, among other groups, on Sunday before going to Mandani Bay for the Cebu 600 cycling event. He is set to return to Manila following the event.