IF there is someone Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants to succeed him, it would be boxing icon and Senator Manny Pacquiao.
In his remarks during the senator’s 39th birthday celebration on Sunday, December 20, Duterte expressed support for Pacquiao as he remarked that the senator is capable of becoming the country’s next chief executive.
“Sabi ko sa kanya one time noong kami lang dalawa nag-usap, gusto kita gawing president. Alam ko kaya mo (One time in a private talk, I told him I want him to be president and said he could do it),” the president said.
This, however, was not the first time Duterte expressed support to Pacquiao for a possible presidential run in the 2022 elections. Last year, Duterte also tagged Pacquiao as “president-to-be.”
Duterte then lauded Pacquiao’s public service.
“As a senator, you have demonstrated the qualities of a true leader — someone who believes that in order to make the Philippines a better country, we have to keep our people on top of our priorities. I am glad that you are with me in this mission,” Duterte said.
He also praised the boxing icon for bringing glory to the Philippines in the world of sports.
“You have brought so much pride and joy to our country for being a world champion in the field of boxing. The determination you have shown and the humility you embodied in the midst of glorious triumphs are worthy of emulation by our countrymen,” Duterte added.
During the May 2016 election, Pacquiao won the senatorial race after getting more than 15 million votes. He has emerged as one of the staunch supporters of the current administration.
Prior to the senatorial post, Pacquiao has served as a congressman of Sarangani province.
McGregor wants ‘true fight’
There had been reports about mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor as Pacquiao’s potential opponent but the Irishman has indicated that he’s not interested in a boxing match.
In an interview with TMZ last week, McGregor said that he wants to enter the octagon in his next match and not the squared ring.
“I think a true fight is what I want to do next,” McGregor said. “MMA next.”
Earlier in August, McGregor suffered a technical knockout loss in his boxing match against undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In a social media post last November 23, Pacquiao teased a possible match next year against McGregor when he used the hashtags “2018” and “real boxing match.”
“Happy Thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma,” the Filipino boxer posted on in his Instagram account along with a photo of the UFC Lightweight Champion.