MANNY Pacquiao’s decision to field wife Jinkee as his party’s candidate for vice governor of Sarangani was met by both cheers and jeers as the eight-division boxing champion started consolidating his political forces ahead of next year’s elections.
Incumbent Gov. Miguel Dominguez hailed Pacquiao’s decision as `Solomonic,’ but provincial board member Eleanor Saguiguit called it a brazen display of greed for power.
The boxing superstar claimed he first asked for Divine guidance before deciding to have her wife run as vice governor under the People’s Champ Movement (PCM) against Saguiguit, and fellow Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Sarangani member Eugene Alzate.
Saguigit (SP) is set to file her Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) as the official bet of the Liberal Party.
Pacquiao and Jinkee filed their respective CoCs Tuesday afternoon at the provincial office of the Commission on Elections in Sarangani.
The official filing of CoCs by the Pacquiaos was preceded by a prayer meeting in the morning held at the Pacquiao mansion II in Barangay City Heights attended by the boxing superstar’s political supporters, friends, and journalists.
Incumbent vice-governor Steve Solon also filed his CoC along with the Pacquiaos as Jinkee’s running mate.
“My husband asked me to help him run the province,” said Jinkee later. “Another reason is he doesn’t want to hurt two of his friends jockeying for the vice gubernatorial position."
Dominguez, who’s no longer running for any position, said the decision to choose Jinkee as vice governor candidate was the right thing to do.
“It was a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. By choosing an outsider and a new face, Pacman put a stop to the never-ending jockeying, intrigues, jealousy, and polarization within his party,” Dominguez said.
The decision actually came as a surprise as only last Friday Pacquiao announced that Juan Domino would be his vice gubernatorial bet during the oath-taking of PCM leaders and members to the United Nationalist Alliance.
But Dominguez defended Jinkee’s choice, saying she is the only person who can control Pacquiao and the people around the boxing champion.
“I see her not just as a unifying, but also as a stablilizing factor inside the PCM,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said Pacquiao is so kind and generous he would hardly say “no” to people asking favors from him.
“With Jinkee around, I think people who have the tendency to commit abuses would think twice. She’s a woman, and I believe in her probity and honesty in serving the province,” Dominguez said.
With regards to Jinkee's lack of experience in public service, Dominguez believed nobody was born a governor or vice governor.
“Everything can be learned depending on one’s willingness and determination to learn. Let’s give her a chance to prove to us her ability,” added the governor.
Pacquiao earlier agreed to swap post with Dominguez for the 2013 election. However, some jealous political lapdogs of the boxing icon spoiled the party alliance.
Dominguez supported Pacquiao’s opponent Roy Chiongbian during the 2010 congressional race.
The duo has since set aside their political differences and vowed to work together for the good of the province.
“Congressman Pacquiao called me up and sought my advice. So, I told him to choose somebody who can help manage the province well. Someone who is not just talented, but also righteous,” Dominguez said.
Jinkee’s entry into the political scene brought to three the members of the Pacquiao family vying for the top positions in Sarangani, General Santos and South Cotabato. Brother Rogelio is also seeking the first congressional seat of South Cotabato.