Manny Pacquiao says he’s running for president in the Philippines

Manny Pacquiao holds a press conference at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on July 17, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, ahead of the July 20th WBA welterweight fight. JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES via CBS News.

Boxing star Manny Pacquiao announced on Sunday that he’s running for president of the Philippines in the 2022 election.

The 42-year-old, who is currently a senator in the Asian nation, said he accepted the nomination of his faction of the PDP-Laban political party at its national convention over the weekend. As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year term ends, Pacquiao pledged to campaign on fighting poverty and corruption.

“I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring,” he said in a speech.

But Pacquiao, who won world titles in eight different weight divisions and is one of the greatest boxers of all time, is in for a big fight. He’s trailing in the polls, with Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte, the mayor of Davao City, considered a frontrunner in the race. And Duterte himself, who is term-limited, may seek to maintain influence by running for vice president on another ticket.

Still, Paquiao remains undaunted.

“I boldly accept the challenge of running as PRESIDENT of the Philippines,” he tweeted. “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.”

In July, Pacquiao, who was once a Duterte supporter, said he found more than 10 billion pesos ($200 million) in pandemic aid for poor Filipino families was unaccounted for as part of his corruption probe, drawing strife from the president. After launching his candidacy, Pacquiao told television host Toni Gonzaga, “those who stole from the government should be imprisoned.”

Duterte cannot seek a second six-year term under the country’s constitution. As president, he has been known for his ruthless campaign against illegal drugs and is accused of presiding over extrajudicial killings by police while attempting to silence and jail his critics.

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