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Is boxer-turned-politician Pacquiao building a dynasty?

Representative Manny Pacquiao in Congress

Publication Date : 03-10-2012

 

If Philippine political families can build dynasties, why not boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao?

Pacquiao himself has announced his reelection bid in 2013 as representative of Sarangani’s lone congressional district in south Philippines. His wife, Jinkee, is running for vice governor of the province, while his youngest brother, Rogelio, wants to become a congressman of neighbouring South Cotabato, too.

The boxer’s People Champ Movement has teamed up with Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance  in fielding Rogelio in the congressional race for the first district of South Cotabato.

Rogelio, chairman of Barangay (village) Apopong in General Santos, will run against the incumbent, Representative Pedro Acharon Jr., a former mayor.

Jinkee will be the running mate of Steve Chiongbian Solon, the incumbent vice governor, who will be seeking the gubernatorial post against possibly incumbent Governor Miguel Dominguez, who is in his last term.

The team-up indicates an alliance that Pacquiao has forged with the Chiongbians, a family that has kept a tight grip on Sarangani politics.

It has obscured Pacquiao’s victory over another Chiongbian, Roy, in the 2010 congressional race.

Roy, the brother of then outgoing Rep. Erwin Chiongbian, questioned Pacquiao’s residency but failed to have him disqualified. Pacquiao claimed he had lived in Sarangani before his foray into politics.

Pacquiao then took pride in defeating a “billionaire” and part of a political dynasty. His supporters credited the boxer’s “charisma and propoor” outlook for his victory.

In 2007, however, Pacquiao lost to former Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio in the mayoral race in General Santos City, despite reportedly spending about 120 million pesos (US$2.8 million) in the election campaign.

In next year’s mayoral battle, the boxer has tapped Councilor Ronnel Rivera, a son of a fishing magnate, against Custodio.

Jinkee filed her certificate of candidacy for vice governor in Alabel town on Tuesday, according to Alvin Quiñanola, the province’s election officer.

Another member of the Pacquiao family, Lorelie, is also into politics, having won as chair of Barangay Labangal in General Santos in the 2010 barangay elections. Lorelie is the wife of Pacquiao’s brother, Bobby.

With a report from Aquiles Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao

 

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