Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao announced he will run for president of the Philippines next year after railing against corruption in government and what he calls President Rodrigo Duterte’s cosy relationship with China.
Pacquiao, currently a senator, was nominated on Sunday by his PDP-Laban party allies during the group’s national assembly, days after a rival faction nominated Duterte as its choice for vice-president and his long-time aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, as the party’s presidential candidate.
Pacquiao, 42, presents a potential obstacle to Duterte’s succession plans. “I’m a fighter and will always be a fighter, inside and outside of the ring,” Pacquiao said at the event. “Nothing is impossible if it’s ordained by God.”
Analysts say Pacquiao’s presidential bid could split the vote in the southern island that both he and Duterte come from, creating opportunities for opposition figures. Although hugely popular, Pacquiao is not considered experienced enough in politics to lead the country.
Duterte is prohibited by the constitution from running for a second six-year term as president.