Future first ballot boxing Hall of Famer and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao admiring the Philippine Gold Exhibit at Asia Society in New York on Oct. 12.  (Ellen Wallop/Asia Society)

Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter

The spirituality of boxing icon and Congressman Manny Pacquiao was evident throughout the hour-long Question-and-Answer that the legendary boxer and members of the New York and Fil-Am media conducted at Asia Society in New York City on Oct. 12.

Pacquiao was in New York to receive the prestigious Asia Game Changer Award from Asia Society given at the United Nations on Oct. 13.

This year’s award was given to eight Asians, led by Pacquiao, who are “driving impact and making game changing contribution to the future of Asia,” according to Asia Society.

During Monday’s press conference, Pacquiao answered questions briefly and directly, despite some English language difficulties, which ranged from his political plans and involvements; humanitarian work and legislative activities.

Asked about his much talked about plan to run for president of the Philippines in 2022, the congressman said if God wills it, then, he would. He said becoming president of a country is a plan of God, not man.

Pacquiao mentioned he was to leave for the Philippines last Thursday because he would file his certificate of candidacy for senator.

He did not reveal his party affiliation.


Manny Pacquiao being interviewed by Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President of Asia Society.  (Ellen Wallop/Asia Society)

This writer told Pacquiao that the Liberal Party had released its complete line-up of senatorial candidates earlier that day while he was en route to the U.S.

(I noticed, however, there were two obscure/unknown personalities in the LP senatorial list who are both from Mindanao. Apparently, one of the slots could be vacated and easily given to Manny Pacquiao in case he accedes to an earlier invite for him the join the LP slate. But, that means he will turn away from his friends at UNA. But, with the Catholic Church making a statement against “corrupt candidates,” [clearly alluding to Binay], I doubt the honest Pacquiao would still join that group).

Pacquiao instantly remarked after hearing from this writer about the Liberal Party complete line-up, “You’ll never know!”

So, that means it is still possible for him to decide in favor of the Aquino/Roxas group?

With the prestigious Asia Society Award in his hand, he could use it as a springboard for his Senate run with any group.

He must be the only Filipino politician who holds that distinct honor.

Other questions

Some 60 reporters and television cameramen attended the press conference.

Around 20 of the reporters were Filipino-Americans, including this writer, Roger Santos of CFC ANCOP  USA Media and TFC’s Don Tagala.

For the second time in a week, Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President, Asia Society, has moderated a Filipino open forum in New York.

The first was during the lecture of Filipino Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio at the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue a week earlier.

The following questions were addressed to Pacquiao and answered by him:

Q: Lessons learned from his experience as congressman?

A: 1. Politics is a 24-hour job.

2. Some politicians are masquerading as righteous people, especially during election time.

3. Politicians will always have political enemies. Should forgive them.

Q: On serving the people?

A: 1. Serve the people honestly with guidance from the Lord.

2. I help the people in my province and elsewhere because I want to share the blessings I am receiving. These blessings are beyond my imagination. All the honor and glory belongs to God.

Q: What are the basic needs of the poor?

A: 1. Shelter; 2) sustainable livelihood; and 3) health care.

Q: What have you done in the area of human trafficking?

A: 1. Have filed bills that would make penalty against human traffickers harsher.

2. Also, pursue and investigate cases of human trafficking more vigorously.

Q: On refugees in Europe?

A: Nations must help refugees with compassion.

Q: What bills were authored  and filed in Congress?

A: Bills on Human Trafficking; Increased Salaries of Teachers, and Establishment of Health Centers around the Philippines.

Q: How is your injured right shoulder?

A: It’s 80 to 90 percent healed. Can start gym work in December and fight in March 2016. No known opponent yet.


The Filipino Reporter’s Manny Caballero delivers a question to Manny Pacquiao at Asia Society on Oct. 12.  (Photo by Edwin Josue)

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