Manny Pacquiao does a Manny Villar, reminds Sarangani voters that he was "poor"

"I don't want to be just your boxing idol. I also want be your idol in public service," declared boxer and candidate for congressman Manny Pacquiao in an Associated Press (AP) article published on GMANews.TV. It highlighted Pacquiao's campaign sortie in San Miguel, a remote village in the province of Sarangani.

Pacquiao likewise added: "I could just sit back and relax and not have anything to do with politics. I could just travel around and enjoy my life with my family. But I came from a very poor family, and I cannot turn my back on the poor."

The 31-year-old Pacman is now one of the world's richest athletes. The report cited Forbes magazine's estimate of Pacquiao's earnings: "(Pacquiao) made at least $12 million in his latest win over Joshua Clottey in March, after pocketing $30 million for beating Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 and Ricky Hatton in 2009."

Still, just like presidentiable Manny Villar whom he is endorsing, Pacquaio recalled the poverty he experienced in the past. "He spoke of how he slept on cardboard in the street as a child. When there wasn't enough money for rice, his family ate coconuts and bananas. He dropped out of school to earn money and focus on boxing and passed a high school equivalency test only in 2007," revealed the AP report.

Pacquiao, who is running under his political party, People's Champ Movement, said that his platform involves "giving small boats to fishermen and financial support to neighborhood stores so people can build livelihoods, plus offering free education and medicine and medical care to the poor."

However, there's no guarantee that Pacquiao's magic in the boxing ring and his poverty claim (however legitimate it may be) would translate to votes.    Pacquiao ran and lost his congressional bid in General Santos City in 2007. This time around, he's up against Roy Chiongbian, who comes from the province's high profile political clan, for the Sarangani congressional seat.

Then again, if he loses once more, Pacquiao could always go back in the ring.   He said as much when he was asked about his mother Dionisia Pacquiao's plea that he quit boxing.   He disclosed that they would have to discuss the matter further "maybe after the election."

Perhaps, Pacquiao should also get a few words of advice from political analyst Ramon Casiple who said, "Voters today look for a record of service and don't vote on popularity alone."

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We'll have to wait and see if Pacquiao wins this fight.

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