FILIPINO world boxing champion Emmanuel Pacquiao, who represents the lone district of Sarangani in Congress, should train his guns on lower elective post first before aspiring for the presidency, according to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.
“He should aspire for a senatorial seat first. He can’t set his sights on the presidency that fast. He needs training at the Senate first,” Belmonte told reporters. “It would be better if he focus on beating Rios first,” he added, referring to Pacquiao’s fight with American Brandon Rios in Macau on November 24.
Pacquiao is the only boxer in history to win eight titles in eight different weight classes, but he lost his last two fights in 2012 to American Timothy Bradley and longtime Mexican foe Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao lost to Bradley via a split decision. Against Marquez, the Filipino fighter suffered a sixth round technical knockout loss with his face falling first on the canvass.
Belmonte, however, clarified that Pacquiao can aim for the presidency because the Constitution is on his side.
“Let us face it, anybody can run [for president]because our Constitution says that you are qualified as long as you are a natural-born citizen, 40 years of age, able to read and write,” he explained.
Malacañang also said Pacquiao has the right to run for presidency.
”Kung sa damdamin ni Ginoong Pacquiao e karapat-dapat siyang tumakbo, nasa kanya po ‘yun [If he feels he is qualified to run for president, that’s up to him]. We cannot stop anyone wanting to fulfill their ambition,” said Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
Pacquiao will be 38 years old in 2016, thus he will still not be able to run president.