Should Pacquiao run for president?

By Perry Diaz

Manny Pacquiao and Bill Clinton

Manny Pacquiao and Bill Clinton

Not too long ago, former President Bill Clinton appeared on the American late night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and told Jimmy Kimmel in front of millions of viewers that he thought Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao would make a good public servant. Clinton said that Pacquiao should consider running for president… soon. “He’s already in the Philippine parliament (House of Representatives) and I hope he goes right on up the ladder,” he said. “I think he’s a great guy and he’s a great role model for the country. He’s very smart and honest, and so he’s thinking about the rest of his life.”

Coming from one of the most beloved presidents of the greatest nation on earth, Clinton’s implied endorsement of Pacquiao for president says a lot about Pacquiao himself, which makes one wonder: What makes “Pacman” tick? Knowing how Philippine politics work, the answer to this question is as complex — and complicated — as the process of electing presidents in a country where loyalty to a candidate for public office far outweighs allegiance to a political party. It is for this reason that turncoatism – “balimbing” – is prevalent during election times.

Pacquiao at Jimmy Kimmel Show

Pacquiao at Jimmy Kimmel Show

Just before the second Pacquiao-Bradley fight last April 12, Pacquiao appeared for the eighth time on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. When Kimmel asked Pacquiao about Clinton’s suggestion for him to run for president, Pacquiao said that he’s “not yet thinking about running for higher position.” He said that right now his main focus is his role as a congressman. Perhaps he should have added, “and winning championship fights, too.”

Pacquiao-Bradley title fight on April 12, 2014

Pacquiao-Bradley title fight on April 12, 2014

But he’s beginning to age, which is anathema to a boxer. It is apparent that he was losing his feared knockout punch. His recent bout with Timothy Bradley showed that he was also losing his legendary speed. In the last eight fights since his TKO victory over Miguel Cotto in 2009, Pacquiao won only one knockout, five unanimous decisions, one majority decision, and one split decision. And without his “killer punch” and stunning speed, Pacquiao is nearing the time when he’d have to call it quits… while he’s still ahead.

“Dirty tricks”

Kontra Daya election watchdog

Kontra Daya election watchdog

But what would Pacquiao do after retiring at 35? Since he is already holding an elective office representing the province of Sarangani in Mindanao, he’s already knee-deep in the murky waters of politics. He’d find out sooner or later that politics is no different from boxing; the objective is to knock your opponent out before he knocks you down. And to knock an opponent out, sometimes it requires the use of “dirty tricks,” like head-butting and below-the-belt punches.

In politics there is a lot of “dirty tricks.” Election cheating has been around since the Philippines gained independence from Uncle Sam in 1946. In the 1950’s, the term “flying voter” became the buzzword. A “flying voter” is a person who has the ability to “fly” — like a bird — from one precinct to another to vote for the same candidate; thus, giving that candidate a numerical edge over his opponent. Mathematically, whoever has the most “flying voters” would have a better chance of winning. But the most effective way to win an election is the use of the three G’s – guns, goons, and gold.

Comelec commissioners

Comelec commissioners

Today, the most common way to cheat is dagdag-bawas, which is to subtract votes from your opponent’s total and add it to yours. This is accomplished with the complicity of corrupt Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials. And with the implementation of the controversial Smartmatic PCOS automated election system, election cheating has become virtually untraceable. As someone once said, “In Philippine elections, there are no losers, only the winners and those who were cheated.”


Binay handpicks Pacquiao for senator

Binay handpicks Pacquiao for senator

Recently, Vice President Jejomar Binay, the presumed opposition presidential candidate, handpicked Pacquiao to be one of the 12 senatorial candidates under his banner in the 2016 elections. With Pacquiao’s high popularity ratings, he will win hands down. Only a wholesale and massive dagdag-bawas cheating could bring him down.

And once he’s elected to the Senate, Pacquiao would instantly rise up to the status of a “presidentiable,” which would position him for a presidential run in the 2022 presidential election. If elected, Pacquiao at 44 would be the youngest Philippine president since Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

The question is: Is Pacquiao qualified to be president? Constitutionally, he is qualified. But does he have what it takes to lead a country that is immersed in corruption?

One can argue that he is honest and incorruptible. But we have heard that line spoken before for no other than the current president, Benigno S. Aquino III. There is no question that Aquino is “honest and incorruptible.” But that didn’t stop some people around him from robbing the government, including some lawmakers who have been accused of stealing billions from their pork barrel allocations.

What the country really needs is someone who has balls to go after corrupt officials regardless of political affiliation, friends and foes alike. Some say that we need a Filipino Lee Kuan Yew. But some say that is not good enough, which makes one wonder: who then could lead a nation that some say is ungovernable?

Given the situation that the country is in, should Pacquiao run for president in 2022? He might have cojones like the pugilist that he is, but would he be a great leader with a grand plan on how to govern and lead his people to the land of milk and honey? Or is he just after wealth and glory, like the breed of greedy politicians that we have today?

A greedy politician thinks of how to make more money while a great leader thinks of how he should be remembered by his people. Which one would he be?


27 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Raoul says:

    Pacman is humble, sincere, has fear of God and wants to share God’s blessings with fellow Filipinos.

    He is realistic and knows his place. He acts well on limitations and, being that, has a natural hunger for learning from those who are more intelligent and more experienced than he is.

    In fact Pacman is always learning, as he has shown time and again in his boxing matches.

    He has innate practical intelligence and most of all credibility, and will not allow anyone to sway him away from what he thinks is the right thing to do.

    God bless the Pacman, and May He direct his path, starting from what he does in his present role as congressman.

  2. Macario Corsame says:

    If greenhorn Pacquio becomes president, the real power will be Chavit Singson, widely reputed jueteng lord and seasoned veteran of corrupt and dirty politics. Voters beware!

  3. perry says:

    One would have to be a damn fool or just nuts to run Pacquiao for president such they ran that fool Estrada. This guy should not even be sitting in the Congress. Things like this is one of the main reasons why the PI lags so far behind the rest of the countries in Asia and is looked upon as a joke!

    (Sent by email)

  4. perry says:

    Thanks Perry,

    There are many more good capable Filipinos that could & should run for the Presidency, rather that Pacquiao.

    Jaime Calero
    (Sent by email)

  5. perry says:

    So what does one think about Manny for Prez !?!
    P-Noy is honest same as his mother, Cory but not knowing the maze politics thrive in, Manny shall be similarly handicapped. Too many traps and pits to fall into ! He shall be taken advantaged of ! He cannot punch all these crooks out for the count ! May need a firing squad to rid the country of all the kurakots that shall purify the stench !
    General Ramos could have cleaned up the mess, but he did not ! Another DAVID to slay GOLIATH !?!
    Imports from Singapore or South Korea will not work in the Philippines !
    Ben Oteyza
    (Sent by email)

    • pat talens says:

      Ben, firing squads for all the kurakots…I like that. HAHAHHAH i will add: ipakain sila lahat sa buwaya o igapos at ipakain at kagatin sa maraming langam.

  6. pat talens says:

    Pacquiao for President? HHmmmmmm…too early still to pose such a question, since he is only 35, and to run for President a candidate must be at least 40yr-old. So for you folks bashing and predudging him as without any presidential potential at all, you can sleep well and not to worry—as he can not now run and be a President of the Republic of the Philippines like Gloria Arroyo and Joseph Estrada. But in hipothetical sense, knowing then what you know now, will you ever consider Pacquiao over these two who I believe now occupy pages in annals of Philippine history as 2 of the most controversial corrupt Presidents of the country?

    At the moment I even view it unfair to bring Pacquaio as a now possible presidential timber. His age disqualifies him. His obvious preoccupation in the world of boxing as a phenomenal boxer which brings fame to himself and pride to the nation only makes many people to:
    cast him as a sure great boxer but a political joke; prejudge him as devoid of political wisdom and undeserving to be in a political world of the intellectuals and smooth-talking high caliber politicians; and consider him a very inexperienced politician severely lacking of any political achievements and milestone.

    So for the moment, I must at least exercise bit of wisdom that although I like him “now” I am not here to endorse Pacquiao to run for the next President of the country. But yes I urge him to run for Senator—for him to gain further political experiences at national levels and to prove himself (especially in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that has become a wasteful, useless, “ningas kugon”, grandstanding political body). Here I am an optimist he can translate his inherently unmatched boxing skills into political deeds of courage, fairness, incorruptibility, and sincere love of service to the people.

    The people must accept he is not a born smooth-talker. But what the heck…the history of the Philippines is replete with smooth-talker politicians who only have plundered and betrayed the people for so long now. Thus I am hoping, at age 40, Pacquaio will not only be eligible but the man qualified and exulted to be a President of his country—a feat beyond his wildest dreams, a record in world story, in many ways to once upon a time a hungry boy in the dirty streets of his native place.

  7. Bobby Bagos says:

    Manny for president? Are you kidding? He’s a congressman who spend more time preparing for his next fight instead of concentrating on how to improve the quality of life of the people he represent. He now surrounds himself with people whose reputations are not much to be desired, and these same people are probably already feeding his little pea brain with ideas on how to screw the Filipino people. And guess what, our brain dead kababayans will vote for him no matter what.

  8. Robert says:

    Beware voters!,!,gagamitin lamang si pac-man ng ibang pulitiko sa pansarili nilang interes….ni hindi dapat syang maupo na cnressman eh…..nandoon ako…marami syang pera…pero mauuubos din iyon sa dami ng nakapalibot sa kanya….kasama pa ang mga alipores nyang pulitiko lalo na si singson….kawawang nana,an ang pilipinas….gising pinoy…..napag-iiwanan na tayo ng ibang bansa,sinasakop pa tayo ng intsik….pagnanakawan pa tayo ng mga lumang at ganid na pulitiko….

  9. Roman R. Guerrero says:

    Manny may still “mature” to be presidential timber after becoming a Senator…2022 is still more than 8 years away. But, honestly we wish Mayor Duterte to be 1st president from Mindanao by 2016 because upon the next President shall be herculean task of keeping the Peace in Mindanao now on its way to more conflict arising from the recently signed CAB which rejected by the OIC in support of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between MNLF & Ramos gov’t. The Mayor has succeeded to build the social infrastructure that brings harmony, order, understanding & cooperation among the tri-people Muslims, Christians & Lumads in Davao City = the world’s 4th safest city of 2m+ population.

  10. It is clear that Clinton knows nothing about the Philippines’ (and Filipinos’) personal and transactional political practices. Six years will not be sufficient time to prepare Pacquiao for the presidency. The chief executive’s office/position requires a lot more brain work and political resolve to occupy. Unfortuntely in our country–and the culture is the main culprit–popularity (not competence) elect Presidents. Ramos was lucky because there were seven candidates so he won as a minority (got only 24% or so of the votes), thus the popularity of Miriam Defensor Santiago and Danding Cojuangco’s political feud with Imelda Marcos worked against them as the ignorant votes was sorely reduced to losing numbers. The Presidency requires geopolitical, economic, socio-cultural, domestic political and environmental–not to mention the complex international relations in this century–savvy even though the President is “surrounded” by technocrats. Only the President is the elected person to make the solitary final decision on critical issues. What will Pacquiao say in a four-eyes summit meeting with China’s Xi Jing Ping or Germany’s Angela Merkel? What about a meeting with Malaysian PM Nagib Rasak and his ASEAN counterparts? What can we expect from Pacquiao in the economic summitry in Davos annually, or the APEC yearly summit meetings? Wake up Pinoys!!!Don’t PETER PRINCIPLE Pacquiao. He deserves something better down below.

  11. tina berenguer peralta says:

    The best thing for our country is to hire instead a CEO to manage the Philippines. Hire a man like Clinton or someone from a country like Singapore, someone well known for incorruptibility and for good vision, someone who has the balls to put in prison all those civil servants (kuno)who make the lives of the poor and the powerless such misery on top of their struggles for even a little food on their tables. Our government and its corrupt and greedy civil servants is extremely oppressive and the only ones who do not feel that are the ones oppressing us. Our civil servants, from the bottom up, are all little tyrants and big dictators whose only goal in their lives is to make money on the backs of those already having such a hard time surviving their daily struggles. This country’s growth may be 7% but if you go to the slums, squatter areas, the scavengers, they will tell you differently. Ask the hunter gatherers of our garbage dumps, our mangbobote whose only legacy to his young son beside him is the cariton he pushes all day so he can continue the daily struggle as his father did before him. These people do not feel that 7% growth of our country. They just feel very very tired.

  12. Philip says:

    Si Pacquiao presidente? Aroooooooooo, iboboto ko lang siya kung ang VP niya si Vice Ganda .For sure with the two of them in power, it will be more fun in the Philippines! Showtime araw-araw gabi-gabi.

  13. Rex Q. Garcia ME/ CPE / PE says:

    Pacquiao for PRESIDENT ? You never can tell and it could happen knowing the Pinoy brain dead mentality of electing actors, electing ex-convict Erap , electing convicted rapist Jalosjos while he was in jail , electing Enrile the master mind and architect of Martial Law and so on. How soon voters have forgotten the Marcos clan who are elected senator, congresswoman and governor. Its a disgrace to Pinoy voters who vote convicted, corrupt and uneducated candidates like senator Lapid. When will the Pinoys learn to exercise their rights to vote the right candidates.

  14. Fernando Habito says:

    Manny Pacquiao as the PHL boxing icon can be great if he get out from dirty politics.There is no such “jack of all trade Mesiah” who can change the country and solve corruptions if that is the purpose of making him run for president.What Bill Clinton have said was just a subtle joke for media consumption which he is good at that as politician..

  15. perry says:

    He would be a perfect candidate. He is honest and very spiritual.

    (Sent by email)

  16. perry says:

    He is a good man, a talented man, an honest man and a generous man and even a Godly man but I am not sure that he understands the complexities of the world – economics, national security and the political process. He is virtually uneducated and can hardly speak straight English. He will become the butt of the joke not only by his political rivals at home but also worldwide. I love Manny, I have paid good money for every one of his fights and even entertained guests on top of the PPV. But it will be painful to see him fail or be subjected to the manipulation of smart but corrupt and dishonest men. Cory Aquino was smart, but she was manipulated by crooks and so with PNoy. He will be placed on the world stage without his boxing gloves and I am not certain he can handle that fight. Pilipinas kong mahal, the Lord protect you from the evil ones.

    We need an intelligent, honest and Godly man to guide the Philippines. Lord, bring us that man or woman.

    Sam Buot
    (Sent by email)

  17. Robert says:

    What about sen. Santiago ? Mayor duterte of davao? Ping lacson or peter cayetano?

  18. Guila says:

    You CAN’T be serious!!!

  19. pat talens says:

    Why is it folks tend to say voters are brain-dead when they talk of Pacquaio being in the political realm? This is totally misguided, biased theory being thrown to a man who, I would argue, now stands the world’s most prominent Filipino icon in recorded history, and the man who brought the most pride into the Filipinos.

    People should take note Pacquiao’s undereducated life was due to an early life of extreme poverty, and that his current political underperformance is due to his preoccupation in boxing that in retrospect became the basis for what he is now, the foremost pride of the Filipinos.

    In due time as he is still young, Pacquiao will evolve for the better in the political world, as he did same in the landscape of boxing. He enjoys national stature that soon, he will use wisdom in creating his own political inner circle, that will render him advice in bold leadership and proper governance that is incorruptible and only patriotic to the people and the Nation.

    It is obvious Pacquiao does not have a masterful command of the English language as seen in tv interviews—a sure turn-off to folks who expect a suave, smoothtalking boxer. But he speaks well in his lingo, that it bodes well upon him he only speaks in political terms in medium where he is competent and most at ease. After all, most world leaders do not use English (but interpreters) in their bilateral communications with fellow world leaders.

    It seems as well Pacquaio does not now reflect that aura of potential Presidential timber. But acquiring charismatic Presidential leadership is doable nevertheless. In due time, Pacquiao can do no less than what is eerily displayed by the current President PNoy Aquino.

    And lastly, once Pacquaio becomes eligible for President, will you vote for Revilla or for Jinggoy Estrada or for Binay, or for Enrile—over Pacquaio??????????

  20. I would strongly support Manny Pacquiao to become President of the Philippines. I don’t believe that only the lawyers, actors, actresses and military officers as President can bring good governance to the Filipino people. After their term of office, more number of Filipinos became poorer and poorer.

    It has already been proven that lawyers who became presidents that they have not successfully improve the quality of life of the Filipino people, except their cronies, fellow oligarchs, KKKs, at ibapa who made them rich office.

    Ferdinand Marcos Sr., supposedly one of the most brilliant Filipino lawyers even destroyed the country by turning the nation into a dictatorship society and became the “model” of grafters.

    MP will get wiser as he becomes older. God will guide him. Those who dislike him to become President is simply jealous of his accomplishments as a human being.

  21. Juan M. Montero,II,MD says:

    When Manny Pacquiao visits Norfolk-Virginia Beach area sometime in next few months, y’all come see him. Montero Medical Missions and MP’s Foundation will raise funds to collect hospital equipment and medical supplies and ship to Saranggani Vice Gov. Jinkee’s sponsored hospital.

  22. Julie David says:

    If Pacquio sincerely want to help people, he doesn’t have to be a politician to do so. Pacquio is a goodman, but not good enough to be our president.

  23. Guy Camacho says:

    Clinton was just just saying that instead of voting politicians into higher office who are likely to plunder the meager resources of the country, why not elect Pacquiao. At least when he cheats he only withholds on the tax portion of his earnings that he is supposed to pay to the BIR.
    Twelve Pacquiao’s in the Senate are better than the dirty twelve on Napoles’ list – whoever they are.

  24. Philip says:


    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Philip, you’re going to piss the hell out of PNoy for making such a suggestion, he’s eyeing Vice Ganda as his permanent partner once he is out of Malacanang, or was it Ricky Reyes? Anyway, knocking people in the ring and winning several world title is not a guarantee that he can run a country. He has yet to prove his worth as a congressman now they want to put him in charge of a country that’s in deep sh*t? What in the hell is wrong with you people? Why don’t you folks just give the office of the presidency to the son of that evil dictator and it get it over with?

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