By Rebecca Wright, Ivan Watson and Jinky Jorgio, CNN
Former boxing champion turned senator, Manny Pacquiao says he’ll search corruption expenses in opposition to a few of his former political allies inside the Duterte authorities if he wins the Philippine presidential election subsequent yr.
Talking to CNN in an interview on November 11, the presidential candidate mentioned he deliberate to analyze some members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s outgoing administration.
“All these corrupt officers must be jailed,” he mentioned. “That’s the one approach that we will have financial progress in our nation, as a result of that’s the most cancers of this nation, the hindrance of growth.”
Pacquiao hopes to succeed Duterte when the Philippines goes to the polls on Could 9, 2022, with official campaigning not scheduled to begin till February.
However the race is already heating up.
One of many frontrunners is Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — the 64-year-old controversial son and namesake of the late dictator accused of stealing billions from the nation throughout a two-and-a-half-decade reign throughout which 1000’s of individuals had been imprisoned and tortured.
Some specialists estimate the Marcos household amassed more than $10 billion in the course of the dictatorship. Marcos Jr. has claimed most of the allegations in opposition to his household are slanderous.
Pacquiao’s agenda contains making an attempt to recoup a number of the “stolen wealth” from the Marcos household, who had been exiled for greater than 5 years following a 1986 revolution.
“I’m not scared,” Pacquiao mentioned. “That is my combat to provide growth to our nation, to jail those that are constantly stealing the Philippines of its wealth. I would like them jailed.”
A large open subject
Weeks of hypothesis ended on Tuesday when Marcos Jr. and Duterte’s eldest daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, confirmed they are going to be operating mates within the election.
Duterte-Carpio, 43, will stand for vice chairman — elected individually from the President — on the identical ticket as Marcos Jr., cementing an alliance between the 2 highly effective households.
Among the many different primary candidates for the highest job are Duterte’s longtime aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go; incumbent vice chairman and Duterte critic Leni Robredo; and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, a former actor.
In keeping with Richard Heydarian, affiliate professor in politics at Polytechnic College of the Philippines, dynasties and celebrities have dominated the nation’s politics for the reason that fall of the Marcos dictatorship.
“For some time, the celebrities introduced themselves as sort of a self-made alternate options to political dynasties,” he mentioned. “Nonetheless, simply since you’re a celeb doesn’t imply you’re going to win.”
However Pacquiao has a combating likelihood.
The broad subject of candidates, mixed with the Philippines’ first-past-the-post electoral system may work to the previous boxer’s benefit, Heydarian mentioned.
“Let’s not overlook, within the Philippines, we now have no run-off elections,” he mentioned. “All you must do to turn into the President is to win extra votes than everybody else.”
In 2016, Duterte did simply that — profitable the presidency with simply over 39% of the vote.
Regardless of criticism that he prioritized his boxing profession over his congressional position, Pacquiao’s political star has risen over the previous 5 years below Duterte’s rule.
However relations between the 2 males have faltered in latest months.
Indicators of a rift within the ruling PDP-Laban social gathering started in March when the previous boxer criticized Duterte’s stance on a maritime dispute with China and accused authorities businesses of corruption.
Talking to CNN, Pacquiao additionally questioned the Duterte administration’s dealing with of Covid-19.
“The Filipinos are dismayed with how the individuals in control of the Covid response dealt with the pandemic,” Pacquiao mentioned. “We’re the laughing inventory when it comes to Covid response in addition to corruption within the authorities.”
In July, Pacquiao said $200 million in pandemic aid meant for the nation’s poorest individuals was unaccounted for. Duterte responded by difficult Pacquiao to call corrupt authorities officers to show the previous boxer was not simply politicking forward of the election.
The race for President has been repeatedly overshadowed by the controversial incumbent, who’s at the moment dealing with an Worldwide Prison Court docket investigation into his “conflict on medicine,” through which police say greater than 6,600 individuals had been killed. The federal government has mentioned it won’t cooperate with a global probe as a result of the Philippines has a functioning justice system.
Duterte, who’s barred by the Structure from looking for a second time period, will run for senator in subsequent yr’s election. In the meantime, his youngest son, Sebastian Duterte, is operating to interchange Duterte-Carpio as mayor of Davao, on the southern island of Mindanao.
In keeping with Heydarian, the outgoing President “wants a fortress, as a result of the Worldwide Prison Court docket most probably will push forward with full-scale investigation. And we might even see warrants of arrest in opposition to a number of the prime officers within the Philippines.”
Pacquiao mentioned he would examine the Duterte administration for its position within the killings.
“I’ll proceed the conflict on medicine in the proper approach,” Pacquiao mentioned. “You don’t have to kill them within the streets, there’s a due course of, (giving) them the prospect to defend themselves to show that they’re harmless.”
Not like a few of his rivals for the presidency, Pacquiao was born into poverty.
He bought sweet and cigarettes on the streets as a toddler to offer for his siblings and single mom and commenced his boxing profession combating for just a few pesos in unsanctioned bouts.
The one boxer ever to win world titles in eight completely different weight divisions, Pacquiao retired from boxing this yr following a glittering 26-year profession.
His success within the ring and famed generosity — in 2016 he estimated he’d given away $200 million to assist the poor — have made him a nationwide icon.
Although his non-traditional profession route has delay many within the middle-class, Pacquiao is massively standard amongst poor Filipinos, who’re impressed by his rags-to-riches story, in response to Heydarian, from the Polytechnic College of the Philippines.
“Pacquiao has 100% identify recognition, Pacquiao has a lot of cash, he has (a) community throughout the nation, and he’s a really charismatic man,” Heydarian mentioned. “He additionally comes from a really poor background (and) his life story can also be extraordinarily inspiring.”
Pacquiao mentioned it’s his uncommon path — and his self-made success — that units him aside from different candidates.
“I’m not a conventional politician,” Pacquiao mentioned. “I’m a really ahead and direct individual, I don’t hesitate to say what is true.
“I need to give Filipinos a superb life, a superb future, that’s my objective, that’s why I entered politics.”
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Further reporting by Reuters and CNN’s Ben Westcott.