Philippine’s super featherweight boxer Manny Pacquiao acquired 16 million votes to represent southern Sarangani province in the Asian country’s Senate on Thursday.
He ran for the Senate on the ticket of presidential candidate Jejomar Binay who lost to Rodrigo Duterte.
The president-elect Duterte however endorsed him and as popular as he is, the boxing great who had apologised for his comments on same-sex marriage won impressively over his opponents.
During his senatorial campaign, Pacquiao bounced back impressively after a huge drop in support from his remarks in February that people in same-sex relations are ‘worse than animals.’
In a populist stance, he said the first bill he would file would grant free education for children from poor families.
His 16 million votes, earned him the status as the seventh most popular of the 12 new members of the senate which made an elections commissioner at the proclamation ceremony introduce him as the ‘people’s champion’ and called out his name in the same slow style with which he used to be greeted in the ring prior to his world title bouts.
His huge popularity sends the signal across that Pacquiao can become the president but the Philippine constitution requires presidential candidates to be at least 40 years old, meaning that at 37, he would be eligible to run in the next election in 2022.