Friday, May 20, 2016

Call him Senator Pac-Man

Manny Pacquiao - a different kind of victory.
BOXING legend Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao was in a familiar pose, hands above his head in front of a cheering crowd and flashing cameras. 

He was not in a boxing ring this time though. On Thursday, (May 19) Pacquiao had just received confirmation that he won a Senate seat in the Philippines. It is not like he was a novice politicians, the 37-year old boxer  was a member of the country's House of Representatives, although he was criticized for missing about a third of the votes.

In the Philippines, Senate candidates are chosen at large and he finished with 16 million votes, seventh out of the 12 open positions. Although he says he retired from boxing, Padquiao's popularity is unquestioned in the Philippines where he is seen as a folk hero.

"The Filipino slugger garnered more than 16 million votes, landing 7th among 12 new members of the Senate, a traditional springboard to the presidency," the Associated Press reports, adding that Pacquiao demurred when asked about his future political ambitions.

In earlier interviews, he did not say seeking the Presidency was out of the question. After his political victory, he issued this statement:
Several months ago, we mounted a campaign to heed the call for help from the poor and downtrodden Filipino masses. We went out and joined them in their homes and places of work, we listened to their longings and assured them that a new beginning is coming. Over the past week, we heard those same voices strongly during the recent national electoral process. The message was very clear: Filipinos want their government back in the hands of the ordinary people. They want a new set of leaders who would stand up for their aspirations and share their goals. For that reason alone, I accept the challenge with utmost humility and gratitude. For the millions of common folks who believe in my capacity to put into words what they cannot express; to champion the causes closest to their hearts; and to serve them in a higher and greater platform, you have just won a seat in the Senate. My dearest kababayans, the victory is really yours. I want to reiterate what I have been telling my countrymen from the mountain ranges in Luzon, to the coastal towns of Visayas, to the riverside settlements of Mindanao: I will not let you down. I will not steal from you. I will not fail you. Rest assured I do everything for God and our country.
The Philippines' President is elected for a single six-year term and must be over 40 years old. By the next Presidential election in 2022, Pacquiao will be 43.