2022 Philippine Elections

If he backs out, Atienza wants Tito Sotto as Pacquiao’s VP bet

Aika Rey

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If he backs out, Atienza wants Tito Sotto as Pacquiao’s VP bet

THE BOXER. Presidential bet Senator Manny Pacquiao speaks to reporters in Iloilo City on March 30, 2022.

Aika Rey/Rappler

A Pacquiao-Sotto tandem? 'Abangan 'nyo na nga lang,' the boxing icon says

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – In the event that vice presidential bet Lito Atienza backs out of the race, who else would be a good running mate for Senator Manny Pacquiao?

According to the boxing legend, Atienza wishes it to be Senate President Vicente Sotto III, the running mate of Senator Panfilo Lacson.

“Ang sabi naman ng aking ka-tandem, na kung may mapipili man siya na kung sakaling hindi ‘nya kaya… gusto ‘nya si Sotto pwedeng dalhin as VP,” Pacquiao told reporters on Wednesday, March 30, on the first day of his campaign in Iloilo City.

(My running mate said, if he were to choose somebody who would run with me in case he could no longer push through with the campaign, he wants Sotto to be my VP.)

If he backs out, Atienza wants Tito Sotto as Pacquiao’s VP bet

More than halfway through the campaign season, Atienza has yet to join Pacquiao in sorties, following a knee procedure.

When he responded to speculations about teaming up with Vice President Leni Robredo after the endorsement of Reporma, Sotto said that reporters should instead interview Pacquiao.

Sotto later confirmed that he and Pacquiao are talking. 

According to the Promdi presidential bet, he and Sotto were supposed to meet on Monday, March 28, but he had to postpone this because of a meeting with SpaceX executives for his planned satellite broadband program in case he wins the elections.

“Basta mag-uusap lang kami. Depende na kung ano yung pag-uusapan namin – about sa buhay, about sa politics,” he said when asked if Sotto would be a common candidate between him and Lacson.

(Just wait for us to talk. It really depends on what we talk about – could be about life, about politics.)

Pressed further about Atienza’s condition and its implication for the campaign, Pacquiao said that the public will just have to wait for further details once he and Sotto meet.

“Abangan ‘nyo na nga lang, (Just wait for it),” Pacquiao said.

A Pacquiao-Sotto seems to be a likely tandem, given their relationship in the Senate. In June 2021, Sotto entertained the idea of Pacquiao becoming the Nationalist People’s Coalition’s presidential bet, saying the boxing icon was welcome to join the party amid infighting within PDP-Laban.

Pacquiao also said that he and Sotto are friends and that he is a member of the so-called “macho bloc” in the Senate, together with Sotto, Lacson, senatorial candidate Gringo Honasan.

Sotto ranks second in pre-election polls, following Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.