Rep. Pacman has eyes on Senate

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 1 Sep) – Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao announced here on Monday night that he is leaning closer towards making a run for a Senate seat in the 2016 elections.

In a gathering of city stalwarts of his political party People’s Champ Movement (PCM), Pacquiao said he is seriously considering offers from the opposition camp for his inclusion in its senatorial slate but stopped short of making an official declaration.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who had declared to run for president under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), earlier offered a senatorial slot for Pacquiao for the 2016 elections.

The PCM, which had forged an alliance with UNA, dominated the 2013 elections here and nearby Sarangani Province.

“Di pa ako talaga nagdesisyon ng final. Pero marami ang nag-advise sa akin na ito na yung chance, which is may punto rin sila (I have not yet made a final decision. But a lot of people have advised me that this is my chance to run for the Senate, and they have a point),” he said.

Pacquiao, who is on his second term as representative of Sarangani’s lone district, said he will make a final announcement on the matter at the right time.

“Di ako nag-aannounce tonight na ako talaga ay officially running for senator. Pero malamang dyan ang pupuntahan natin (I’m not officially announcing tonight that I’m running for senator but I will likely go that way),” he added.

During the gathering, which coincided with the 44th birthday of City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, the PCM formally announced its lineup for next year’s polls.

Rivera and Vice Mayor Shirlyn Nograles will seek re-election along with incumbent councilors Franklin Gacal Jr., Rosalita Nunez, Ramon Milleza, Arturo Cloma, Brix Tan and Shandee Llido-Pestano.

Completing the slate are incumbent San Isidro barangay chair Jose Edmar Yumang, Rep. Pacquiao’s younger brother Bobby, Dominador Lagare Jr., Rodolfo Ladrera, Jonathan Blando and Van-van Congson.

The party has not yet announced a challenger for incumbent South Cotabato first district Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. of the Achievers with Integrity Movement-Liberal Party but it earlier considered outgoing councilor Dominador Lagare III for the post.

City Councilor Ruel Pacquiao, who represents the Liga ng mga Barangay in the council, was reported to likely seek Rep. Pacquiao’s seat in Sarangani should the latter decide to run for the Senate.

Incumbent Sarangani Vice Gov. Geraldine “Jinkee” Pacquiao, the congressman’s wife, had declared to retire from politics so she could concentrate on taking care of her family.