Monday 5 December 2016

Manny Pacquiao presses on with senatorial campaign despite kidnap threat

Published 28/04/2016 | 15:31

Manny Pacquiao is currently a congressman and among the wealthiest sports celebrities in the world
Manny Pacquiao is currently a congressman and among the wealthiest sports celebrities in the world

Manny Pacquiao has pressed on with his campaign for a seat in the Philippine Senate despite a reported militant plot to kidnap him.

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The boxing star had few visible security escorts as he campaigned in Laguna province, south of Manila, shaking hands and allowing villagers to take selfies with him.

President Benigno Aquino III had revealed on Wednesday that Abu Sayyaf militants may have plotted against his life and considered kidnapping Mr Pacquiao and the president's sister, who is a popular actress.

Mr Pacquiao, 37, currently a congressman and among the wealthiest sports celebrities in the world, said the intelligence report about the alleged kidnap plot should have been given to him confidentially instead of being announced publicly.

He told reporters: "I doubt (the threat) but I'm not ignoring it."

The latest surveys ahead of the elections on May 9 show Mr Pacquiao has a strong chance of landing a Senate seat despite a considerable dip in his ratings weeks ago over a remark which gay and lesbian groups detested.

He got embroiled in controversy in February for saying that people in same-sex relations are "worse than animals".

Mr Pacquiao apologised to people hurt by his comments but made clear he opposed same-sex marriage.

He is the Philippines' most famous athlete and has represented southern Sarangani province in the Philippines' House of Representatives since May 2010, although he has drawn criticism for seldom showing up for legislative duties.

Press Association

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