Philippines: Pacquiao continues to build political baseBy Edwin Espejo Oct 29, 2013 6:40PM UTC
With his boxing career momentarily detoured, Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is back building and consolidating his political base in nearby General Santos City where, some say, he hopes to become mayor someday.
On Monday, October 28, two of his brothers and a sister in law won elective seats in the barangay elections in the city, although an elder half-brother failed to win the chairmanship of the one of the city’s biggest barangays.
Rogelio ‘Roel’ Pacquiao was re-elected village chief in Brgy Apopong after almost giving up his post to pursue the election protests he filed against South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr.
The younger Pacquiao lost to Acharon in the May elections this year.
Another Pacquiao brother, Bobby, came away from Monday’s polls as the number one village councilman in Brgy Labangal where wife Lorelei was also re-elected village chief.
Both barangays are heavily populated and are vote-rich.
Domingo Dapidran Belbestre, half-brother of Manny, however, lost to incumbent Calumpang village chair Reynaldo Salubre, an ally of the Sarangani congressman.
Pacquiao’s political ally and General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera also failed to get the majority number of the city’s 26 village chiefs needed to win the presidency in the city’s Association of Barangay Chairmen which would have tightened their control of the the city council.
In 2010, Roel Pacquiao ran for ABC president, a position that would have made him an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. He lost to re-elected Barangay City Heights chairperson Lourdes Casabuena.
Pacquaio’s bosom buddy and former two-division world boxing champion Gerry Peñalosa has said the Filipino boxing icon once intimated to him his dream of becoming the mayor of General Santos City when they were still struggling professional boxers.
Pacquaio himself tested the political waters in General Santos City when he ran but lost against then re-electionist Rep. Darlene Antonino Custodio (South Cotabato-1st District) in 2007.
It is the same position his brother Roel coveted in 2013.
Frustrated in his first foray into local politics, Pacquiao transferred residence to nearby Sarangani where he first won in the lone congressional district of the province.
He was re-elected in May this year after running unopposed.
Pacquiao is set to return to the boxing ring next month against American Brandon Rios in Macau, where he hopes to put a good show to erase the stigma of two successive defeats in 2012.
He needs to win against Rios to keep himself in the boxing conversation and remain in the political limelight for a possible senate run in 2016 and a possible presidential bid in 2022.