Boxer Manny Pacquiao announced his candidacy for the 2022 presidential election in the Philippines on Sunday, ending months of speculation.
“The time has come, we are ready to take on the challenge of the presidency,” said the Filipino boxing star, 42, who has agreed to run for a dissident faction in President Rodrigo Duterte’s party.
The boxer made his decision a few weeks after his last professional fight, an August 22 loss in Las Vegas to Cuban Yordenis Ugas.
The only boxer to have been world champion in eight different weight classes, “Pac Man” is a huge source of pride for Filipinos.
As a child, he lived on the streets before entering professional boxing in January 1995 for a purse of 1,000 pesos (19 euros) and subsequently amassing a fortune estimated at over $ 500 million.
Manny Pacquiao entered politics in 2010, when he was elected MP, before becoming a senator in 2016. He has sometimes sparked controversy with his statements in favor of the death penalty or hostile to homosexuality.
But he is deeply popular in the archipelago, where his generosity and his path to success when he was born into extreme poverty are deeply admired.
Pacquiao has already pledged to spare no effort, starting by sending “hundreds or thousands” of crooked politicians to a purpose-built “mega prison”.
“To all those who ask me what my skills and abilities are, have you ever suffered from hunger? “, He declared Sunday in front of his supporters. “Do you know what it’s like to have nothing to eat, to have to borrow money from your neighbors, or to wait to collect leftovers from a restaurant?” The Manny Pacquiao in front of you was shaped by poverty ”.
Until recently, Pacquiao was a prominent supporter of President Duterte and his controversial war on drugs, which prosecutors at the International Criminal Court want to investigate for the alleged unlawful murder of tens of thousands of people.