WBO world welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao, who retired from boxing to join politics, scored a big political win on Thursday, as he was elected into the Philippines senate.
Pacquiao 37, got more than 16 million votes, landing seventh among 12 new members of the upper house of Congress by the Philippine’s elections commission.
As a new senator, Pacquiao would push for free education at all levels. Speaking to reporters, he said: “I can focus and discipline myself, the way I did in boxing to help the nation.”
Manny Pacquiao who is also a two-term congressman also said he favours restoring the death penalty for drug-related and other serious crimes. He ran for the Senate under the ticket of losing presidential candidate Jejomar Binay.
Last week, voters cast their ballots to choose a president, vice president, 12 senators, 200 members of the lower house of Congress and 18,000 local officials and he was one of the 12 senators. About 80 percent of 55 million eligible voters turned out in the general elections, which are held every six years.
Pacquiao was among the top choices for a senate seat but he dropped in the polls after he made an anti-gay remark in February, saying people in same-sex relations are “worse than animals.” He however apologized to people hurt by his comments but made clear he opposed same-sex marriage.
A month before elections, his ratings improved after a convincing victory over American champion, Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, knocking him down twice in the 12-round bout.
Considered a hero in the country, which grinds to a halt during his televised fights to watch him box, Pacquiao has indicated in the past that he would consider a run for the presidency. But he has often tried to ditch the topic, saying he was too young.
The Philippine constitution requires presidential candidates to be at least 40 years old. The 37-year old boxer would be eligible to run in the next presidential election in 2022.