GENERAL SANTOS CITY - Senator Manny Pacquiao said he was surprised when President Duterte gave him quite an early endorsement for the presidency at his 38th birthday bash in General Santos City on Saturday.
Duterte, in his birthday message for the “People's Champ,” had said Pacquiao would someday be president.
The “Pacman” played coy, saying it's too early to even think about running for the post. He’s qualified to run in the next presidential elections in May 2022 when he will be 43.
Pacquiao said his focus now is his work at the Senate and seeing to it that the people will be given real service by agencies that are graft- and corruption-free.
Although he said his real passion is boxing, the people will now see more of him in the Senate.
As to Duterte's message, the senator surmises the president saw his sincerity and determination to support programs that promote a corruption-free society.
Hearings at the Senate take most of his time, adding it's a big challenge, so plans about running for the presidency is a long way off.
He profusely thanked the president for gracing his birthday bash.
Duterte stayed throughout the 5-hour celebration/worship/entertainment show at the KCC Convention Center in GenSan.
Pacquiao said he has received an overflowing of blessings throughout his life and so it would be unfair to ask for more. Thus, his birthday wish is for a peaceful and prosperous Philippines.
Asked if he would grant his mother's wish for him to altogether leave boxing, Pacquiao just smiled and said, "I love my mother but..."
The convention center was filled with his family, friends, members of his religious congregation and fans.