GENERAL SANTOS CITY—If political families can build dynasties, why not boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao?
Pacquiao himself has announced his reelection bid as representative of Sarangani’s lone congressional district. His wife, Jinkee, is running for vice governor of the province, while his youngest brother, Rogelio, wants to become a congressman of neighboring South Cotabato, too.
The boxer’s People Champ Movement (PCM) has teamed up with Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in fielding Rogelio in the congressional race for the first district of South Cotabato.
Rogelio, chairman of Barangay (village) Apopong here, will run against the incumbent, Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., a former mayor.
Jinkee will be the running mate of Steve Chiongbian Solon, the incumbent vice governor, who will be seeking the gubernatorial post against possibly incumbent Gov. Miguel Dominguez, who is in his last term.
The team-up indicates an alliance that Pacquiao has forged with the Chiongbians, a family that has kept a tight grip on Sarangani politics. It has obscured Pacquiao’s victory over another Chiongbian, Roy, in the 2010 congressional race.
Roy, the brother of then outgoing Rep. Erwin Chiongbian, questioned Pacquiao’s residency but failed to have him disqualified. Pacquiao claimed he had lived in Sarangani before his foray into politics.
In 2007, however, Pacquiao lost to former Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio in the mayoral race in General Santos City, despite reportedly spending about P120 million in the election campaign.
In next year’s mayoral battle, the boxer has tapped Councilor Ronnel Rivera, a son of a fishing magnate, against Custodio.
Jinkee filed her certificate of candidacy for vice governor in Alabel town on Tuesday, according to Alvin Quiñanola, the province’s election officer.
Another member of the Pacquiao family, Lorelie, is also into politics, having won as chair of Barangay Labangal here in the 2010 barangay elections. Lorelie is the wife of Pacquiao’s brother, Bobby. With a report from Aquiles Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao