Senator Manny Pacquaio has left the door open to stepping aside as a presidential candidate.
Pacquaio has indicated that he may be willing to support the presidential bid of current Vice President Leni Robredo in the May 9, 2022 election.
Pacquiao said on October 15 that he would be willing to run for vice president instead if that would improve the chances of defeating a candidate anointed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
The boxing icon made these comments despite the breakdown of previous talks between his and her camps over a possible match-up.
“Anything can happen until November 15, anything’s possible,” Pacquiao said.
The senator was referring to the November 15 deadline for substitution of candidates.
“We are not closing our doors, but I am happy with my vice president [former Manila mayor] Lito Atienza,” Pacquiao told ABS-CBN.
Pacquiao’s comments came as a surprise to many.
These include several evangelical groups supporting the boxing champ, who said his offer to team up with Robredo was due to his low ratings in opinion polls.
“Perhaps reality is beginning to sink in. He never ranked first or even second in recent surveys. Maybe he is beginning to feel that he should run for a lower position such as vice president or senator perhaps instead of eyeing the highest office in the land,” said Marcus de la Rama, a member of the evangelical Abundant Grace Church.
A Pulse Asia survey from September 6-11 showed Pacquiao on fourth place.
The top three in the survey were Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., and current Manila mayor Isko Moreno, respectively.
Also joining the presidential race are Senators Panfilo Lacson and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Pacquiao and Robredo have both filed their certificates of candidacies for president.
Robredo was earlier endorsed by the 1Sambayan coalition, which pushed for a united opposition running against Duterte’s hand-picked successor.
But in her talks with other opposition candidates, Robredo said she encountered basic differences and principles, especially on how to run the country.
Back in August, Robredo admitted holding talks with Pacquiao for a unified ticket in the 2022 elections.
Meanwhile, Isko Moreno is running as president with the Aksyon Demokratiko party.
Moreno is being backed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who said Wednesday (October 20) that the Manila mayor has the best vision for the Philippines.
“We are offering the people in this election our brand of leadership and what program can he offer to the people,” Recto, a stalwart of the Nacionalista Party, said.
As the country is still dealing with the pandemic, Recto said the top priority of the Moreno administration is health, as clearly shown by his choice of Dr. Willie Ong as his running mate.
The second would be economic recovery, with a mass housing program playing an important role, he stressed.
“We know that by investing in housing, at least, the multiplier effect is 17 times, so your peso will go 17 times much longer in housing. That has never been done in the Philippines in the past,” Recto noted.
Recto added: “And there is a prototype in Manila to begin with. Aside from that, you may notice that Isko, even today, may bagong ospital na pinagagawa ulit sa Manila. Not to mention a few days ago, school buildings. Huge educational facilities as well, we will prioritize also under an Isko Moreno administration,” he said.
Recto also enumerated some of the other accomplishments of Moreno in Manila, which included cleaning up Divisoria and Quiapo in a matter of days, continuous assistance to residents affected by the pandemic, and the distribution of tablets to public school teachers and students, among others.
“I said, Mayor Isko, let’s continue that, let’s do it all over the Philippines,” Recto said.
In related news, Senator Imee Marcos said that a tandem between her brother Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go is not impossible in 2022.
‘’Everything is possible,’’ Imee Marcos said of a Marcos-Go tandem on October 16.
During a radio interview, Imee Marcos said her brother ‘’is talking to everyone’’ regarding his need for a vice presidential candidate.
Marcos Jr. is the official presidential candidate of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP).
Go, earlier endorsed as the presidential bet of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban party, filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the vice presidential slot under the PDP-Laban wing of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
In Go’s stead, the Cusi wing endorsed the presidential candidacy of Senator Ronald ‘’Bato’’ dela Rosa.
Later, dela Rosa said he does not mind being replaced by the party with anyone if chooses, including presidential daughter and Davao city Mayor Sara Duterte.
‘’He (Dela Rosa) is good soldier. He is all heart,’’ Imee Marcos said of Dela Rosa.
Go previously said that he “can work with anyone”.
Before Bongbong filed his COC as PFP presidential candidate, Imee Marcos said a Sara-Bongbong tandem is an arrangement “made in heaven”.
She said Sara Duterte’s decision to seek reelection as Davao city mayor is a big disappointment to her ‘’but we respect each other’s decision.’’
She said she expects the ’’cloudy’’ political atmosphere to clear up when the November 15 deadline for the filing of substitution ends.