Pacquiao Falls Short In Presidential Polls
Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and also a senator retired from boxing to trade it for the Philippines presidency, but his campaign promise on drugs and crime failed to hit the mark with voters.
His bid for the top job started in typical bold style: a livestream broadcast of himself riding in a coach emblazoned with "Man of Destiny" through Manila's morning traffic to file his candidacy.
But his vow to jail corrupt politicians and arrest drug users — despite having admitted using crystal meth and marijuana when he was a younger — failed to deliver a knockout punch and he lost Monday's election by a huge margin.
An initial tally showed Pacquiao picked up fewer than four million votes, or 6.8 percent of votes counted.
That left him a distant third behind winner Ferdinand Marcos Junior, who got more than half the votes, and runner-up Leni Robredo.
The loss came as no surprise — pre-election surveys showed Pacquiao had almost little to no chance of winning.
But the fervent evangelical Christian convert had talked up his chances of victory until the last moment.
"I believe there are more poor people than rich ones," Pacquiao told reporters on Monday as he voted in his southern home province of Sarangani.
"We want to assure them that the majority of the poor will unite to show the rich that there are more people suffering in poverty in this country," said Pacquiao, who lives in an enclave of billionaires and foreign ambassadors when he is in Manila.
The failed tilt for the country's highest elected office has cost Pacquiao more than just money and pride — he also had to give up running for a second term in the celebrity-packed Senate, which he likely would have had a strong chance of winning.
In an interview in November, Pacquiao, a former congressman, ruled out a sporting comeback if he lost the presidential election.
"I'm already turning 43 years old, so it's enough for me, I'm done," said the father of five.
Pacquiao said he would instead grow fruit on a 20-hectare (49-acre) property in Sarangani.
"It's also quiet (there), I like that," he said.