Pacquiao, Philippine boxing icon, who entered politics in 2010 as a congressman before being elected to the Senate, has long been expected to make a tilt for the country's highest office.
Philippine boxing icon and senator Manny Pacquiao says he will run for president in the 2022 elections.
Pacquiao accepted the nomination of his PDP-Laban party at its national convention on Sunday, pledging to honestly serve the Filipino people who he said have been waiting for a change of government.
“I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring,” Pacquiao, 42, said in his speech.
“In the name of our countrymen who have long been desiring for the right change in government, I wholeheartedly, bravely, and humbly hope for your support,” he added.
Pacquiao is the president of the PDP-Laban faction led by him and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Another faction of the party earlier this month nominated President Rodrigo Duterte to be its vice presidential candidate, and Duterte’s former aide, Senator Bong Go, as its presidential nominee.
Duterte, who is forbidden by the constitution from seeking a second six-year term, has accepted the nomination, but Go has declined to run for president.
Duterte has led a brutal campaign against illegal drugs, and said last week he would rather “die first” before facing an international tribunal, the day after the International Criminal Court announced it would investigate allegations of crimes against humanity linked to the crackdown that has left thousands dead.
Pacquiao, who entered politics in 2010 as a congressman before being elected to the Senate, has long been expected to make a tilt for the country's highest office.
The 42-year-old is deeply admired in the archipelago nation for his generosity and hauling himself out of poverty to become one of the world's greatest and wealthiest boxers.
His boxing credentials along with fighting poverty and corruption are likely to be the key themes of his campaign.
"For those asking what are my qualifications, have you ever experienced hunger?" Pacquiao asked the national assembly held by the anti-Duterte faction of PDP-Laban.
"Have you ever experienced having nothing to eat, to borrow money from your neighbours or to wait for leftovers at a food stall? The Manny Pacquiao that is in front of you was moulded by poverty."
Pacquiao's star power in a country famed for its celebrity-obsessed politics will put him in a strong position in the presidential race.
But it will not guarantee victory.
A public skirmish between Pacquiao and Duterte over the latter's handling of the South China Sea dispute with Beijing and official graft could erode support for the boxer.
Pacquiao, once a close ally of Duterte, had said more than $200 million (10 billion pesos) in pandemic aid intended for poor families was unaccounted for, adding this was just one discovery in his planned corruption investigation.
His anti-corruption crusade comes as the Senate has opened an investigation into alleged overpricing of medical supplies and equipment purchased under the government’s pandemic response programme.
Duterte challenged Pacquiao to name corrupt government offices to prove that the boxer was not just politicking ahead of the election.