Pacquiao joins Kampi

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — POPULAR Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is the latest addition to the administration party Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino or Kampi.

The Filipino boxing icon yesterday took his oath as Kampi member before Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno, the chairman of the party at his office in Camp Crame.

After being sworn in, Pacquiao said that he was good for at least two more fights after his blockbuster bout with Oscar dela Hoya in December before permanently hanging up his gloves.

Officials said Pacquiao, who used to be with the Lakas-NUCD, would prove to be a major factor in convincing Mindanaoans, both Christians and Muslims of the sincerity of the Arroyo government in its peace and development program in the South.

“Definitely, he (Pacquiao) will be an asset of the government,” said Philippine National Police spokesman, Chief Supt. Nicanor A. Bartolome.

Speaking to reporters, Pacquiao said he decided to join Kampi, President Arroyo’s political party, because he would like to show Filipinos that he “could also be champion when it comes to helping our countrymen.”

“Ang pagpasok ko sa pulitika ay para ipakita na champion din ako sa pagtulong sa ating mga kababayan,” Pacquiao said.

Puno said Pacquiao is a “plus factor” to the ever-swelling ranks of Kampi and would prove to be an influence in convincing Filipinos in Mindanao, especially in South Cotabato, to abandon violence and trust ongoing government efforts to bring just and lasting peace in the island.

“Napapanahon ang pagsali ni Manny sa KAMPI lalo na ngayon at may problema tayo sa Mindanao. Palagay ko ay malaki ang kanyang maitutulong, lalo na para sa South Cotabato, para matahimik ang Mindanao,” Puno said. “Alam naman natin na mataas ang pagtingin ng ating mga kababayan kay Manny.”

KAMPI, the second largest political party in the country, has for its members 55 congressmen, 15 governors and thousands of other local chief executives in vote-rich areas nationwide.

Attending the oathtaking were presidential son, Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo of the 2nd district of Pampanga; Representatives Trisha Bonoan-David, 4th district of Manila; Albert Garcia of the 2nd district of Bataan; Rodolfo Albano III of the 1st district of Isabela; and Antonio Alvarez of the 1st district of Palawan.

Pacquiao, who ran as an adopted member of Kampi in the last congressional elections, formalized his membership to the party as a resident of South Cotabato.

Puno said that Kampi is now discussing plans with Pacquiao on whether he should run either as congressman or for any other local government post in Mindanao during the 2010 elections.

Puno noted that Pacquiao could run for senator and win handily in 2010, but the prizefighter is only 30 years old, making him ineligible for the post. Thirty-five is the minimum age requirement for senatorial candidates.