First modification: 09/19/2021 – 21:01
This Sunday, boxing star and Philippine senator Manny Pacquiao announced his candidacy for the Philippines Presidency in the 2022 elections. The news comes after months of speculation and the internal breakdown of his party, the PDP-Laban, among those who support Pacquiao and those who are loyal to the current president, Rodrigo Duterte.
“The time is now. We are prepared to face the challenge of leadership,” as boxer Manny Pacquiao announced his candidacy for the country’s Presidency this Sunday, from the headquarters of his party, the PDP-Laban.
The new candidate, who is running for office with a rival faction of President Rodrigo Duterte’s party, assured that his political program would defend a government without corruption and challenged those who do not have confidence in him because of his poor academic training.
“For those who wonder what my qualifications are, have you ever been hungry? (…) Have you ever experienced not having anything to eat, having to borrow money from your neighbors or having to wait for leftovers in A food stand? The Manny Pacquiao in front of you was shaped by poverty, “Pacquiao said in a speech relayed on Facebook.
I boldly accept the challenge of running as PRESIDENT of the Philippines. We need progress. We need to win against poverty. We need government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency. The time is now. I am ready to rise to the challenge of leadership. 🇵🇭 pic.twitter.com/suN1zFTxyW
– Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) September 19, 2021
Throughout his career as a boxer, Pacquiao has a record twelve world gold medals in eight different categories. Furthermore, he is considered a national hero in the Philippines and admired for his humble origins.
“I am a fighter and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring. In my life I have never backed down from a fight,” he said during his speech.
Tensions with President Rodrigo Duterte
The Philippine star entered politics in 2010 as a congressman and became a senator in 2016 as an ally and companion of President Rodrigo Duterte, for whom he has expressed his sympathy many times and whom he has supported with his controversial war on drugs.
However, last June a dispute began between the two public figures. Pacquiao criticized the Duterte Executive for not confronting China in the diplomatic conflict over the waters of the South China Sea, claimed by several countries.
A month later, the politician pointed out the Government for cases of corruption in the state program of economic aid due to Covid-19. A complaint that marked a turning point.
As a result of the confrontation, the PDP Laban (Philippine Democratic Party-Power of the People) suffered an internal split between the followers of Pacquiao and those of Duterte. The faction in favor of Pacquiao nominated him as a candidate for the Presidency, while his detractors endorse Duterte for the Vice Presidency.
And it is that the current president will not be able to run again as such, since the Philippine Constitution defines that only one term of office can be exercised as a leader. Something that only leaves him with options to compete for the Vice Presidency despite enjoying the affection of many Filipinos and being the favorite in the polls. The leader has accused Pacquiao of opportunism for turning his back on him after five years as his ally.
The PDP Laban faction loyal to Duterte supported the president’s close aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go, for the post of the country’s top president, although he has yet to comment on the offer.
The Philippines, in the crosshairs of the International Criminal Court
The war on drugs carried out by the Duterte Executive has put the Philippines in the crosshairs of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for possible crimes against humanity.
On September 16, the ICC judges assured that they had indications that could indicate that “a generalized and systematic attack against the Philippine civilian population was carried out in accordance with a State policy.”
The Philippine government’s response was blunt. From Manila they said that they did not accept the investigation of the court based in The Hague and that people involved in it would not be allowed into the country.
The data shows that Duterte’s tenure has been marked by violence. Until the end of April 2021, the Police have claimed the lives of at least 6,117 suspected drug traffickers during their operations, most of them poor people.
However, his heavy hand against drugs and the violence with which he carries out the arrests of alleged cartels and alleged criminals do not appear to have diminished the reputation of the Philippine leader, who continues to appear as a favorite for the upcoming elections.
With EFE and AFP