General Santos - Philippine boxing hero
Manny Pacquiao said on Monday he plans to run for a post in the influential
Philippine Senate despite a lacklustre stint as a congressman.
The star announced he will run as a
candidate for the 24-seat upper chamber in May 2016, to mixed reactions from
"Yes, I'm going to run for (a) Senate
post this coming 2016 election. But as to which party, that's still to be
determined," said the fighter.
The boxer popularly known as
"Pac-Man", said President Benigno Aquino's ruling Liberal Party had
been courting him but added that he is also close to the leaders of rival
Pacquiao, 36, used his athletic renown to
be elected as congressman of an impoverished district in the southern
Philippines in 2010, despite his punishing training schedule and a foray as
playing coach in the country's competitive basketball league.
He has won eight world championships in
different weight divisions but lost the richest fight in boxing history in a
unanimous decision to his American rival Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas in May.
While still retaining his popularity among
sports fans, Pacquiao has been harshly criticised for his performance in the
House of Representatives where he has been listed among the legislators with
the most absences.
As a congressman, Pacquiao was elected by
the voters of his district but in the Philippines, senators are elected
nationally, posing a larger challenge.
The reaction in social media to Pacquiao's
plans for the Senate was largely negative.
"Pacman, you're my idol. But in the
boxing ring. Not in Congress. Sorry," one fan posted on Twitter.
"Pacquiao, you can't even go to
sessions in Congress. Now you want to go to Senate? What are you going to do
there?," said another.