The week-long period for the filing of candidacies for the 2022 national and local elections is now underway,
The first day has passed with a few surprises, and one of which came from the camp of Senator Manny Pacquiao who became the first major presidential candidate to formally file his candidacy. He was accompanied by his wife Jinkee. Pacquiao also tapped Congressman Lito Atienza of Buhay Party-List as his running-mate.
Atienza is a veteran politician who is best known for his floral polos and for serving as Manila Mayor from 1998 to 2007. Later in 2007, he was appointed by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Environment Secretary. In 2010, he tried but failed to unseat Alfredo Lim. Since 2013, he has represented Buhay Party-List in the House of Representatives. Pacquiao has been allied with Atienza for nearly two decades now, with him regarding the former Manila mayor as his “second father.”
Although Atienza has little chance of winning over his potential opponents including Senator Vicente Sotto III and President Rodrigo Duterte, Pacquiao’s selection of him says a lot about how the newly-retired boxer sees his path to victory.
By filing his candidacy with a veteran politician as a running-mate, Pacquiao is indicating that he is truly pushing ahead with his presidential bid. Of course, no one would question Atienza’s qualifications and seriousness as a candidate. More importantly, this move indicates that Pacquiao is targeting evangelical Christians as potential voters. After all, Buhay Party-List was founded by popular televangelist Mike Velarde of El Shaddai.
SIDELIGHTS: Taguig Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano, a former Senator and House Speaker, has announced that he is not running for president in 2022. What will happen to his promised ayuda of P10,000 for Filipinos? 😀