Palace dreams? Try Senate first, Pacquiao told

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Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao. FILE PHOTO

Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has all the right to run for President, but he should get more training in the Senate first before seeking the highest office in the land, according to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Belmonte said Pacquiao should not aim for the presidency immediately, but should aspire first for a national legislative post.

“He should be a senator first, get some training [in the Senate],” Belmonte told reporters when sought for comment on Pacquiao’s political plans.

Pacquiao, 34, has been active in the political scene since being elected to the House of Representatives for the district of Sarangani in 2007.

He has been world champion in eight different boxing divisions, but his career stands on the knife-edge after being knocked out by Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez last December for his fifth defeat.

In a talk with Agence France-Presse on Sunday, Pacquiao said he wanted to run for President when his fighting days came to an end.

“When I started boxing, of course I was planning, you know, and thinking about getting to become a champion. So when I entered politics it was the same thing,” Pacquiao said.

But Belmonte, agreeing with many followers of Pacquiao’s career, said the champion should concentrate first on his fight against Brandon Rios of the United States in Macau in November.

Belmonte also noted that anybody could actually run for the presidency as long as he or she meets the minimum requirements. The aspirant must be at least 40 years old, a natural-born Filipino citizen, a registered voter, able to read and write, and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election.

Many of the Philippines’ previous Presidents had been senators before they ran for Malacañang.

Political experience and a stellar political background are not necessities for running for President, although these would not hurt.

Pacquiao, who did not finish high school but passed an equivalency test, parlayed his fame as world boxing champion in eight divisions into a political career, winning election to Sarangani’s seat in the House in 2007 as an ally of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He won a second term in May’s midterm elections.

But while working as a politician, he also maintains his boxing career.

His training for his matches takes him away from legislative work for months.

In the 15th Congress, he was one of the House’s top two absentees.

Originally posted: 5:42 pm | Monday, July 29th, 2013

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