By Nick Giongco
Manny Pacquiao reiterated on Monday his desire to run for public office when the Philippines holds its national elections in May of 2010. The boxing star told a handful of scribes from Manila Bulletin, Star and Inquirer–the Philippines’ major broadsheets–that there’s no turning back from his decision to seek the congressional seat in the province of Saranggani, in the island of Mindanao. Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee hails from the town of Kiamba, while the pound-for-pound king is a native of neighboring General Santos City. “I have been preparing for this since 2008,” said Pacquiao after he graced an event in a downtown Manila hotel. Pacquiao had tried to wrest the same post in his native South Cotabato but failed after being denied by Darlene Antonino-Custodio. Meanwhile, Pacquiao also revealed his choice for the next Philippine president during the same interview. “I would like Lito Atienza (the Philippines’ secretary of natural resources and a dear Pacquiao friend) to be the next Philippine president,” said the 30-year-old fighter. “Lito Atienza is pro-people and God-fearing.” Pacquiao’s next fight is not yet etched in stone but ringsiders are looking at Nov. 14 as the date of his much-awaited return to the ring possibly against Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.