• Pacquiao backs off, drops Palace dream

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    World boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao has shelved his dream of becoming president, at least for now.

    In a statement released by his office on Tuesday, the Sarangani lawmaker said that he dreams of having a broader reach and serving the people with a greater impact.

    “My thoughts on the Presidency are not indicative of any immediate or concrete plans but are merely aspirations. Serving in a higher elective post rests on the will of God and the call of the Filipino people,” Pacquiao said.

    He added that he is focused on his duties in Congress and is pushing a legislative agenda that will improve the country’s ailing national sports program.

    The lawmaker said that he will soon begin training for his upcoming bout against Brandon Rios and hopes to again bring honor to the country.

    Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. has earlier said that Pacquiao should first set his sights on the Senate and continue his legislative training before aspiring to become president.

    The Commission on Elections (Comelec) meanwhile said Pacquiao is not qualified to run for president in 2016 because he does not meet the age requirement.

    A candidate for president should at least be 40 years old. Pacquiao will only be 37 in 2016.

    Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier said that instead of gunning for the presidency, Pacquiao should run for a Senate seat in May 2016.

    WITH A REPORT FROM JOHANNA M. SAMPAN

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