MANILA—Religious leaders, especially those from evangelical groups, would be part of Sen. Manny Pacquiao's Cabinet should he win the presidency, the PROMDI standard bearer said Wednesday.
Pacquiao said this while meeting some 400 Evangelical Christian pastors in Guiguinto town, Bulacan led by Bishop Ted Malangin.
He said he wanted to ensure that his administration will be composed of “godly” people who will help him bring back Filipinos’ good values, besides being qualified for the job.
"Hindi rin naman tayo basta-basta mag-appoint . . . as long as they are godly. Nararapat lamang sa posisyon n’ya . . . Halimbawa, boxing ang labanan, hindi mo pwedeng ilagay d’yan ’yung swimmer . . . Kumbaga, kung ano ang fit sa trabaho n’ya at kaya n’yang gampanan, du’n natin siya ilagay dahil d’yan. Marami siyang magagawa,” the senator said.
Aside from the Cabinet, religious leaders will also be part of his own anti-corruption task force” that Pacquiao will form right after assuming office, said the senator, who has been outspoken on the issue.
He also hit out at the supposed promise to Filipino voters by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., that their family will bring back the gold should Marcos win the elections.
"Inamin din nila, ibabalik ang gold. Kapag sinabing may ibabalik, ibig sabihin, ninakaw nila . . . Bakit tayo boboto ng korap?” Pacquiao told the crowd, who applauded his statement.
"Hindi naman ako nagsi-single out ng isang apelyido lang. Ang dami namang magnanakaw dito sa ating bansa. Ang daming mga, ewan ko, ang tatakaw sa pera, ang tatakaw sa kayamanan, ang tatakaw sa posisyon. Hindi na tayo doon nakasentro sa pagbabago. Kundi nakasentro ang bawat isa doon sa kanilang vested interest, doon sa kanilang power. Doon sa kanilang hinahangad na yumaman at yumaman sila.”
Pacquiao, meanwhile, expressed his excitement over facing other presidential contenders in a debate, especially those who he said continued to belittle him.
"Gusto ko silang makaharap sa debate eh, lalo na yung mga nagi-isip na ‘Ah, si Manny, wala naman ’yang alam . . . Bigyan n’yo lang po ako ng pagkakataon, sa 6 na taon, at ipapakita ko po sa inyo kung ano ’yung tao na ina-underestimate nila at minamaliit nila. Katulad nu’ng pagmaliit nila sa akin nu’ng ako’y nagsisimula sa boxing," he said.
"Dito sa public service, gusto ko rin pong maging 8-different weight division (champion)."
As to those who belittle his capacity to represent the country abroad because of his difficulty conversing in English, Pacquiao said: “Magsama-sama kami sa ibang bansa, kung sinong papansinin, pag-represent sa ating bansa, di ba? Sige, sama kami lahat na kandidato. ’Pag mag-represent sa bansa natin. Sino’ng mag-represent kaya."
Pacquiao is confident that his “Bisaya kababayans” will support him.
“Alam ko ang mga kababayan ko na mga Bisaya. Kahit na nasa Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao eh . . . nagkakaisa kaming lahat para sa aming hinahangad na tunay na pagbabago at paglago,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao later on asked for everyone’s prayer, stressing that he is running for president, not to enrich himself, but to help the poor Filipinos.
The religious leaders later on “prayed over” Pacquiao, with many of them assuring their support to his candidacy.
Before this, Pacquiao was also received and prayed over by Jesus Is Lord leader and House Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva, inside the JIL Compound in Meycauayan city, Bulacan.
Bulacan represents at least 2 million voters.
"Kailangan magkaisa kami na magkakaroon talaga ng tunay na pagbabago. Pagbabago na hindi lang galing sa bunganga, pangako, kundi pagbabago na makikita natin by action,” Pacquiao said.
He also took note of the contributions of the Bocaue-based pyrotechnics businessmen, who he said must be encouraged and protected, being one of the symbols of the Filipino culture such as Sarao Motor Philippines.
Pacquiao later paid a quick visit to Meycauayan Mayor Linabelle Villarica and Congressman Henry Villarica, before finally going back to Manila.
On Thursday, Pacquiao will be in Malabon.