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Pacquiao a dark horse but still in the race — campaign manager

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Pacquiao a dark horse but still in the race â campaign manager
Manny Pacquiao (L), Philippine boxing legend and presidential candidate, hugs a supporter during a campaign stop ahead of the May 9 presidential election, in suburban Manila on February 16, 2022.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who has been lagging in pre-election surveys, is the dark horse in the presidential race and may still pull off a come-from-behind win in the first-past-the-post polls next week, his campaign manager said. 

Pacquiao, whose candidacy has been hobbled by a schism within the administration PDP-Laban party, has improved in a recent survey and is at third.

"My thought has always been that we are the dark horse in this 2022 elections," Pacquiao’s campaign manager Buddy Zamora said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel Wednesday.

"You won’t be the dark horse if you’re No. 1 or No. 2, but at No. 3 that’s really the dark horse position. You’re not expected to win but you can expect perhaps an upset, upsetting frontrunners," he added.

According to a Pulse Asia report released Monday, Pacquiao overtook Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso for the third spot. Pacquiao had voter support of 7%, while Domagoso’s voter preference dropped to 4% from 8%.

UP Political Science professor Jean Franco told Philstar.com that Pacquiao’s sincerity and consistency could have contributed to this development. The Easter Sunday press conference where Domagoso challenged survey second-placer Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw also "turned people off," she added.

But Pacquiao’s single-digit numbers are nowhere near the 56% voter support for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Robredo, Marcos’ closest rival for the presidency, dropped by one point to 23%.

'16 to 20 million votes'

Pacquiao’s camp is expecting 16 to 20 million votes for the PROMDI standard-bearer in the May 9 polls. President Rodrigo Duterte won the 2016 elections with over 16.6 million votes.

"I think these numbers will make out for the winner of the presidential elections like President Rodrigo Duterte won on [16.6 million] votes in 2016. Perhaps this could be duplicated again in 2022 with similar numbers," Zamora said. 

The campaign manager said they are counting on Pacquiao’s vow to provide free housing and the backing of Christian groups.

The senator made fighting poverty and corruption the key themes of his campaign

Zamora also said that it is too late for Pacquiao to quit the presidential race. "As we have always planned, we will continue to fight and up to the election day," the campaign manager said.

"We are hoping and praying that it will be Sen. Pacquiao’s destiny to lead this nation come May 9, 2022. So we leave it entirely up to God to decide who he would choose to lead the Filipino people for the next six years," he added.

 

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