Manny Pacquiao: An emerging political kingpin

Congressman Manny Pacquiao with outgoing Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez
(Photograph by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)
Filipino boxing idol and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao is now regarded as the emerging political kingpin in Sarangani Province and this city.

This, after all key elective posts in Sarangani and this city have been wrestled by Pacquiao’s partymates belonging to People’s Champ Movement political party in the recently-concluded polls.

Pacquiao and his gubernatorial candidate Vice-Gov. Steve Solon ran unopposed while Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee won with landslide votes against her opponent Board Member Eleanor Saguiguit.

All seven town mayors of Sarangani who won the elections belong to PCM party. Incumbent Alabel town mayor Corazon Grafilo ran opposed while releelectionist mayors Reynaldo Constantino of Malungon; Alfonso Singcoy of Malapatan, Victor James Yap of Glan and Raul Martinez of Kiamba retained their posts.

Former Maasim Mayor Aniceto Lopez made his comeback in this election after he was supported by Pacquaio while Board Member Mac Perrett also won in the mayoralty race in Maitum town.

In General Santos City, Pacquiao’s partymate Councilor Ronnel Rivera and runningmate reelectionist Vice-Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles won in the elections.

Rivera beat incumbent Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio who was even supported by President Benigno Aquino, who personally accompanied Custodio in her campaign sortie when he visited the city one week before the May 13 elections.

Seven out of the 12 seats for the city council were bagged by PCM candidates.

Pacquiao’s PCM party was able to dislodge the well-oiled political machinery of the Antoninos who reigned General Santos City and the 1st district of South Cotabato for more than 20 years.

Former Congressman and City Mayor Adelbert Antonino, Custodio’s father, founded their local party, the Achievers with Integrity Movement after the EDSA revolution.

Since then, AIM has dominated the local politics under the helm of the Antonino patriarch.

In 2007 elections, Pacquiao first tried to contest Custodio, who was then the congresswoman of 1st district-South Cotabato, but lost in the congressional race.


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