Senator Manny Pacquiao and former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson used to be inseparable – with the latter maintaining a constant presence during the boxing icon’s overseas bouts and succeeding homecomings for much of the last twenty years. However, their friendship and political alliance seems to have ended already.

Instead, Singson has endorsed former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for the 2022 presidential elections – citing their shared Ilocano heritage and past experience as governor and legislator.

In a recent interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Singson rejected Pacquiao as a presidential candidate. Singson, now the municipal mayor of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, said this: “Hindi pa siguro panahon ni Senator Manny Pacquiao. Unang-una, hindi siya qualified. Ang presidente kasi, you have to be very educated if not, well experienced.”

manny pacquiao and chavit singson 2022
Former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson (Photo credits: Singson’s Facebook page)

According to news reports, Singson was angered by Pacquiao’s support for the imposition of even higher taxes on tobacco products. “We can’t afford to levy more tax. The entire industry would collapse,” Singsod told The Daily Tribune. Tobacco is widely known as the primary cash crop for generation of families hailing from the Ilocos region.

Singson pointed out that cigarette taxes have already been increased nine times and that imposing another will be another major blow to the tobacco industry. Senator Imee Marcos, another prominent politician from northern Luzon, echoed Singson’s sentiment. “Why do we protect growers of copra, abaca and sugar from the impact of taxation while shifting the burden on our poor tobacco farmers?” Marcos once asked.

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