MANNY Pacquiao looks set to widen his political clout down South as his wife Jinkee, youngest brother Rogelio, and key allies joined him in filing candidacies for next year's local elections.
Pacquiao, bidding for a second term as representative of Sarangani, filed his certificate of candidacy on Tuesday where he was joined by Jinkee who after months of speculation finally threw her hat into the political ring by running for the position of vice governor of Sarangani.
Aside from the power couple, Manny’s youngest brother Rogelio, currently chairman of Barangay Apopong in General Santos City, has now set his sights on the congressional seat of the first district of South Cotabato against representative and former mayor Pedro B. Acharon, Jr.
Another brother Bobby, the former WBO Asia Pacific lightweight titlist, is not joining the fighting Pacquiaos in the political arena but his wife could become part of a budding dynasty after being elected barangay chairman of Labangal two years ago.
Jinkee's foray into politics is expected to seal the Pacquiaos' alliance with the influential Chiongbian family. She is expected to be the running mate of current vice governor Steve Chiongbian-Solon. Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez is serving out his last term.
After his People's Champ Movement had linked forces with United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the world-renowned boxer has moved to consolidate his political forces in his area by fielding other candidates for elective posts.
Among them are Councilor Ronnel Rivera, son of fishing magnate Rodrigo Rivera Sr., who is vying in the General Santos city mayoral race against incumbent Darlene Antonino-Custodio, the same woman who defeated Pacquiao in his first foray into politics in the 2007 congressional race in South Cotabato.
Aside from his political plans, eight-division champion Pacquiao is also preparing for his fourth fight against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on December 10 in Las Vegas.