Senator Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday stated he has no intention of dropping out of the presidential race amid offers from various camps asking that he slide down as their vice presidential bet in the 2022 National Elections.
“Although I am touched and extremely honored, we will continue our candidacy for president,” Pacquiao said in a press statement. “I will not fail the people. We will advocate for change and eradicate the growing corruption in the country.”
Earlier in the day, Senator Imee Marcos named Pacquiao as among the personalities that her brother, presidential aspirant and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, is eyeing for his possible running-mate.
The retired boxing champion, however, has already filed his candidacy for president with House Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza as his vice president.
“While I’m flattered by various camps seeking me to be their VP, it requires the Presidency to fulfill my promises to the people,” he said.
In explaining their preference, Imee said his brother is gearing on having a vice president with bailwicks in Visayas and Mindanao including Pacquaio.
The Marcoses have strong electoral support from northern provinces in the country stemming from the roots of their father, dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
But Imee admitted that they have “fear” in Mindanao given the gaping hole in their popularity in the region.
“It’s very obvious that our preference is ‘Solid North’. BBM also has Metro Manila and Region 8 but were scared of Mindanao because we have a gap there and that’s where the ‘magic’ happened,” she said in a radio interview.
“So naturally we’re tending towards the Vis-Min candidates. A lot are applying but we’re still choosing,” she added.
The lawmaker also disclosed pursuing Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as vice-presidential bet of Bongbong anew but Imee said that the local chief executive was “hesitant” about it.
“I think it’s no secret since this was part of the discussion a long time ago but we asked her if she can be his (Bongbong) running-mate. We asked Mayor Inday but she’s hesitant because she loves Davao City,” she said.
She further said that it was the Duterte-Carpio who pushed her brother to seek the presidency after she filed for reelection as Davao City mayor for a third and final term.
“We never thought that she would not run. That sidelined everyone. And then the mayor said, ‘Bongbong, you should run’. My brother said ‘for what position?’ and then she just said ‘for president because I will not run’. We were confused, we we’re not ready but Mayor Sara said she’s not proceeding,” she said.
Speculations of a Sara-Bongbong tandem resurfaced after the two met in a social function in Cebu.
However, Duterte-Carpio debunked rumors saying that they just discussed how her regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago may help the latter’s presidential bid.