Pacquiao still mum about 2022 plans; says visits to provinces only to 'help people'

For Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, going around the country in a time of a pandemic doesn't mean one is preparing for the upcoming elections.


Pacquiao was again asked about his plans for 2022 during the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) press briefing Friday, March 12, when he directed his partydddddmates refrain from discussing politics and focus on supporting the government's efforts against the health crisis.

While some of their members have supposedly been going around the country in connection with the national polls, he insisted he was only "helping people".

"Mahirap magplano in advance. Sa ngayon ang plano natin ay umiikot tayo dahil tumutulong tayo sa tao...Mula pa naman noon, hanggang ngayon, tumutulong tayo (It's hard to plan in advance. Right now my plan is to roam to help people...Even before, I have been helping people)," said the PDP-Laban acting president, reiterating that he does not want to discuss politics.

"Alam niyo, noon pa ho ako umiikot eh, matagal po na panahon, 2005, 2006 umiikot na po ako. Namimigay na po ako ng tulong sa ating mga kababayan. Pumasok po ako sa pulitika 2010 na eh, so hanggang ngayon, 'yon ang ginagawa natin (You know I have long been going around the country, since 2005, 2006. I have long been giving assistance to people. I entered politics in 2010, so until now, that's what we have been doing)," he further explained.

The boxer-turned-politician has been evasive to queries about his political plans even as he has been visiting various provinces for relief activities, which included his distribution of P1,000 "cash gift" for each indigent attendee.

Last year, Pacquiao found himself in hot water after he and his camp were accused of violating health protocols during his crowd-drawing visit to Batangas in November 26.

The Philippine National Police investigated the incident, finding that the physical distancing was "briefly disturbed" when Pacquiao went down the stage while he was delivering speech, cutting the event short.

The Department of Interior and Local Government said it was reviewing the police's report.

President Duterte has repeatedly urged Pacquiao to run for the country's top post, saying he "wants" to make to him president. The PDP-Laban, last December, elected Pacquiao as its new president.