GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines–By indications, boxer-congressman Manny Pacquiao could be building a political dynasty.
Pacquiao’s People Champ Movement, which has teamed up with Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, is fielding his wife Jinkee to run as vice governor of Sarangani province in next year’s midterm elections.
Jinkee filed her certificate of candidacy for vice governor in Alabel town Tuesday morning, according to Alvin Quiñanola, the province’s election officer.
In an apparent move by Pacquiao to forge ties with the influential Chiongbian clan, Jinkee will be running alongside incumbent Sarangani Vice Gov. Steve Chiongbian-Solon, whom the PCM will be fielding in the gubernatorial race,
Solon’s possible rival was still undetermined as current Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez is on his last term.
The boxing champ’s brother, Rogelio, will also run for congressman of the first district of South Cotabato against former mayor and now South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon, Jr.
Rogelio is Pacquiao’s youngest brother and chair of Barangay Apopong here.
Pacquiao has tapped Councilor Ronnel Rivera, a son of fishing magnate Rodrigo Rivera Sr., to run against incumbent Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, who defeated the boxing icon in the 2007 mayoral race.
Aside from Rogelio, another member of the Pacquiao family–Lorelie–is also into politics, having won as village chair of Labangal here during the 2010 barangay elections.
Lorelie is wife of another Pacquiao brother, Bobby.
Pacquiao himself has announced his reelection bid as Sarangani representative.
After his defeat to Custodio in the city’s mayoral race in 2007, despite reportedly spending about P120 million in campaign funds, Pacquiao formally registered as a voter of Kiamba, Sarangani.
Pacquiao has claimed he lived in Sarangani before his foray into politics.
In 2010, he ran as representative of the province’s lone district and won against Roy Chiongbian, brother of then outgoing Rep. Erwin Chiongbian.
Roy has questioned Pacquiao’s residency but failed to have him disqualified.
Pacquiao’s victory against a Chiongbian, a political family with a reputation for tight grip over Sarangani, came as a surprise to many people.
But then, his supporters credited Pacquiao’s “charisma and pro-poor” outlook for his victory.
Pacquiao also took pride in defeating Chiongbian, whom he considered a “billionaire” and part of a political dynasty.