PASAY CITY – There is no stopping now world boxing idol and Senator Manny Pacquiao from pursuing his next big battle.

The arena is not the boxing ring but the entire country, because he is running for president of the Philippines.

And on October 1, the start of a week-long filing of certificate of candidacy, Pacquiao drove to the Commission on Elections center and filed his COC for president.

Pacquiao is the first presidential candidate to do so. He is running under the PDP-Laban party and backed other parties.

Pacquiao’s vice presidential candidate is long-time Manila mayor, Batasang Pambansa member, Cabinet Secretary and current Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Jose Lito Atienza Jr.

Atienza  filed his CoC for VP together with Pacquiao.

Pacquiao was accompanied by his wife Jinkee while Atienza by his wife Evelina (Beng).

Pacquiao and Atienza vowed to focus on poverty alleviation, improve COVID-19 pandemic response, boost internet connectivity, provide sufficient power supply, and put an end to corruption by jailing erring officials.

“Ang aking pagtakbo ay hindi lang para sa aking sarili, pamilya, kundi sa sambayanang Pilipino, para mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.

Thousands of supporters lined up the streets as Pacquiao passed by until he reached the Comelec center set up at the Harbor Garden of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza area besides the Philippine International Convention Center.

Days ago, Pacquiao announced his retirement in boxing.

Others who filed early their CoC for senator were Rep. Loren Legarda, Gov. Francis Escudero, Lutgardo Barbo, Abner Afuang, Bai Maylanie Esmael, Norman Marquez and Bertito del Mundo.

The Pacquiao-Atienza tandem is supported by an alliance composed of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (Promdi), and the People’s Champ Movement (PCM).

He used a Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (Cona) from Promdi, the  political party founded by the late former Cebu governor Emilio Mario “Lito” Osmeña.

Pacquiao said an alliance was sought since there is still a problem with PDP-Laban.

“We have an alliance PDP-Laban, Promdi and PCM…since there is still a problem with the party, we opted to use Promdi,” he said after filing his COC.

The boxing champion is optimistic about his chances in next year’s polls.

“A survey is just a number. It does not include the voices of the poor people, those that really need our care and love,” Pacquiao said.

As for choosing Atienza as his running mate, Pacquiao said, “I chose Congressman Atienza for he has served the public for more than 50 years. His sincerity, expertise, and real desire to help the country.”

Atienza said he agreed to run as Pacquiao’s running mate as he supports his advocacies.

“I believe that Manny Pacquiao is the only hope we have in improving our lives, much like how he changed his life from poverty to become the best boxer in the world,” he said.