Presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao said Wednesday he is banking on the support of voters in the Visayas and Mindanao.
"Pagdating kasi sa Presidente, I’m sure yung mga Mindanaoan tsaka Bisaya, maso-solid ko naman siguro yun dahil pareho kaming mga Bisaya. Siyempre, saan pa boboto yung mga Bisaya? Sa kapwa Bisaya," Pacquiao said after paying a courtesy call to Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando.
(When it comes to the presidency, I'm sure I will get a solid support from the Mindanaoans and Visayans because we're all Visayans. Who else will they support but a fellow Visayan?)
Pacquiao, who is running under the PROMDI party, is a native of General Santos City and also established residence in Sarangani province.
Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, another 2022 presidential aspirant, is also from Mindanao, particularly Davao City, and speaks the Cebuano language which is commonly used in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, dismissed claims that the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to run for senator next year was a ploy to wrest control over the Senate.
The boxer-turned-lawmaker said senators are independent and could not be dictated upon by anyone.
"I am not in a position para husgahan ang Pangulong Duterte pagdating sa kanyang desisyon sa pagtakbo. The Senate has and will always be a congregation of 24 independent minds and I don't see any reason why it would cease to become one for any reason, " Pacquiao said.
(I'm not in a position to judge President Duterte when it comes to his decision to run for Senate.)
Prior to his sorties in Bulacan, Pacquiao went to the Guadalupe Public Market in Makati to show his support for the country's market vendors and do a "reality check" on what is really happening on the ground.
After his courtesy call with Fernando where he was welcomed by supporters, Pacquiao attended a meeting with some 400 Christian pastors and Bishops at the Jesus Christ The Deliverer Church in Guiguinto, Bulacan.
Pacquaio also made a quick courtesy call to Bulacan Rep. Henry Villarica and wife Linabelle who is the incumbent Mayor of Meycauyan, Bulacan.
More than 90 individuals have filed their candidacy for the country's top post next year, including Vice President Leni Robredo, former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, and labor leader Leody De Guzman.
The list will be trimmed in the coming weeks after the Commission on Elections declares other aspirants as nuisance.
The official campaign period for national position candidates for the May 9, 2022 elections will open only on Feb. 8, 2022.