Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao hits canvas outside home province Sarangani

Herbie Gomez

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Pacquiao hits canvas outside home province Sarangani

PROMDI presidential bet Senator Manny Pacquiao holds a prayer rally at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan on April 23, 2022. Angie de silva/Rappler

Angie de silva/Rappler

Senator Manny Pacquiao’s willpower and prayers could only land him on the distant second spot in 12 cities and 14 provinces in Mindanao

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sent Filipino boxing icon and Senator Manny Pacquiao to the canvas in Mindanao, where the Mindanaoan bet was unable to regain his legs in the May 9 race for the presidency.

Pacquiao’s willpower and prayers could only land him on the second spot in 12 of 33 cities and 14 of 27 provinces in the country’s second-largest island, showed the partial and unofficial count based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) transparency server as of 3:18 pm on Friday, May 13.

Still, the senator ended up a poor second in these areas, beating only Vice President Leni Robredo in most of the Mindanao areas where he emerged as Marcos’ strongest rival.

Pacquiao, however, scored big in Sarangani, the province he calls home, securing votes twice as many as those garnered by the son of the late dictator.

Pacquiao gave Marcos Jr. a run for his money in Sarangani with 160,476 over the Ilocano bet’s 78,230.

Robredo was beaten black and blue in Pacquiao’s home province, getting only 13,483 or 8.4% of the votes cast in favor of the senator.

Sarangani proved to be Pacquiao country. The senator’s brother, Deputy Speaker and Sarangani Representative Rogelio Pacquiao, overwhelmingly won as governor, garnering 163,575 votes over his strongest rival Mohamad “Bong” Aquia’s 51,445.

Rogelio’s running mate in the Pacquiao-led People’s Champ Movement (PCM), Vice Governor Elmer de Peralta, won by a landslide against Aquia’s fellow Aksyon Demokratiko bet Eleanor Saguiguit.

The senator’s sister-in-law, Lorelie Pacquiao, also won the mayoral race in General Santos City, the trading and commercial hub of the Soccsksargen region, with 104,244 votes over Shirlyn Banas’ 85,869.

Lorelie is the wife of Senator Pacquiao’s younger brother Alberto or Bobby, a former professional boxer who became the representative of the party-list group OFW Family Club.

It was a bittersweet victory for Lorelei and the Pacquiao clan though in General Santos City, where Marcos Jr. left the senator behind by 71,352 votes. 

Marcos was leading in General Santos with 152,703 votes over Senator Pacquiao’s 81,351 and Robredo’s 27,344.

Pacquiao was also ranked a distant second in South Cotabato, another province in the Soccsksargen region, garnering 79,636 over Robredo’s 67,139. Even if added, Pacquiao’s and Robredo’s votes would not be enough to change Marcos’ ranking in South Cotabato, which gave him 373,846 votes.

Elsewhere in the Soccsksargen region, Pacquiao was a poor third to frontrunner Marcos, next to Robredo.

Robredo was a distant second to Marcos in the cities of Kidapawan, Koronadal, and Tacurong, and the provinces of Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, where the late dictator’s son easily won a total of 881,461 votes over Robredo’s 182,012.

Other Mindanao cities where Pacquiao ranked a distant second to Marcos with their corresponding number of votes:

  • Digos (73,934 / 10,320)
  • Mati ( 63,249 / 8,757)
  • Samal (60,709 / 4,124)
  • Pagadian City (83,541 / 13,391)
  • El Salvador (26,710 / 4,682)
  • Gingoog (46,026 / 16,586)
  • Oroquieta (29,839 / 5,673)
  • Tangub (26,223 / 3,921)
  • Valencia (80,715 / 12,021)
  • Bislig (42,067 / 6,888)
  • Cabadbaran (38,459 / 2,785)

Provinces in other Mindanao regions where Pacquiao ranked second with their corresponding number of votes:

  • Davao de Oro (343,929 / 41,861
  • Davao del Sur (290,669 / 36,802
  • Davao Occidental (102,265 / 30,363)
  • Davao Oriental (233,313 / 49,017)
  • Zamboanga del Norte (273,177 / 134,291)
  • Zamboanga del Sur (353,993 / 99,386)
  • Zamboanga Sibugay (168,271 / 85,414)
  • Bukidnon (507,556 / 129,784)
  • Misamis Occidental (254,066 / 46,153)
  • Misamis Oriental (386,706 / 76,766)
  • Agusan del Norte (166,592 / 26,180)
  • Surigao del Sur (249,177 / 58,632)

Marcos Jr. dominated the presidential elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), except in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur province, where Maranao presidential bet Faisal Mangondato won.

Marcos ranked a poor third in Marawi City, next to Robredo, and second to Mangondato in Lanao del Sur. –

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Herbie Gomez

Herbie Salvosa Gomez is coordinator of Rappler’s bureau in Mindanao, where he has practiced journalism for over three decades. He writes a column called “Pastilan,” after a familiar expression in Cagayan de Oro, tackling issues in the Southern Philippines.