ALABEL, Sarangani (MindaNews/02 October) — In a development that caught everybody by surprise including a friend of Rep. Manny Pacquiao who was all set to run for vice governor, Jinkee Pacquiao came out of the blue and stunned even her mother in law by agreeing to file her certificate of candidacy for vice governor of Sarangani.
The decision to accept the offer to throw her hat into politics came just an hour ahead of her husband’s schedule to file his own certificate of candidacy (COC).
“The decision was arrived at at 10 am,” Malapatan Mayor Alfonso Singcoy said.
Singcoy said Sarangani Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez called him and suggested that Jinkee instead should run after several mayors expressed their disagreement over an earlier decision to have Juan Domino as the running mate of Vice Gov. Steve Solon.
Pacquiao also confirmed it was Dominguez who was behind Jinkee’s surprise candidacy.
Dominguez said the decision of Jinkee to run broke the impasse between warring politicians inside Pacquiao’s camp.
Domino was nowhere near the Commission on Elections office at the provincial capitol compound in Sarangani when the Pacquiao couple and the entire provincial slate of the People’s Champ Party-United Nationalist Alliance arrived to file their COCs at around 1:20 p.m. He was seen by reporters emerging from a hurried meeting with Pacquiao in the latter’s residence obviously disappointed.
Domino earlier eased out Provincial Board Member Eugene Alzate who was also picked by Pacquiao to run for vice governor.
One incumbent mayor in Sarangani said Domino’s overbearing ways got the better of him.
“He played in the game of generals,” the mayor who requested anonymity was overheard saying.
Pacquiao is seeking reelection after winning handily over Roy Chiongbian in 2010 for the lone congressional seat of Sarangani.
Dominguez is serving out the last of his three 3-year consecutive terms and was prodded by Pacquiao to run for vice governor.
Dominguez however declined saying he is not cut for legislative work and would prefer an executive post.
The governor said he will take a break from politics, although he also told ABS-CBN Socsksargen that he may be “retiring but not expiring.” He said he will help run the businesses of his wife and tend to their one-year old daughter Mariana.
Pacquiao is believed to be just biding his time before running for Senator in 2016 when he becomes eligible.
The 8-weight division boxing champion will turn 34 in December. A candidate for senator must be 35 years on election day under Philippine election laws.
Pacquiao’s mother Dionisia said her daughter in law should brace herself for life in politics.
“Dili na jud siya puede hiya-hiya (She should no longer be shy in public),” Dionisia said.
Jinkee, a former Jamora, hails from Kiamba town in Sarangani, and was a promo girl of cosmetic products in a department store in General Santos City when she met the then struggling boxer.
She said she made the decision to run for vice governor during a two-hour bible study and prayer session this morning at the Pacquiao mansion in Barangay Labangal in General Santos City.
The event was attended by the Pacquiao couple, PCM-UNA slates for Sarangani and General Santos and their supporters.
Jinkee said she had long been wooed by her husband and several other political leaders, including Dominguez, to join the political fray.
She admitted that Dominguez’ endorsement and prodding played the deciding factor for her to eventually accept the offer to run for vice governor.
“I prayed hard before making this decision. But I would not have done it without the endorsement of Gov. Dominguez,” she told reporters after emerging from the Comelec provincial office.
Jinkee considers herself perfectly fit for the position saying she would mainly complement the realization of her husband’s plans for the development of Sarangani. She said she will be her husband’s partner in continuing the programs for the people of Sarangani.
Pacquiao appeared very elated over Jinkee’s decision to run for vice governor.
“It’s better now that I would have a partner who can focus on my plans and projects for Sarangani,” he said in Filipino.
“Our focus will be on providing sustainable livelihood programs, wider access to health care services and education,” he said.
“With us at the helm, the people of Sarangani will be assured of clean and corrupt-free governance,” Pacquiao added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews and Edwin G. Espejo/contributor)