Pacquiao’s ex-political foe running for mayor in boxer’s hometown Special

Posted Dec 22, 2009 by Antonio Figueroa
MANILA – Seven-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao’s transfer to Sarangani Province to seek a seat in Congress may not have been occasioned by his intention to serve the birthplace of his wife but mainly due to another pressing reason.
Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio, the petite lady who soundly trounced the boxer in his first political try, is running for mayor of Gen. Santos City, widely known as Pacquaio’s hometown.
In a brief interview Digital Journal made last Monday at the House of Representatives, she was asked about her political plan for 2010, which she briefly responded with a “yes,” saying she would be running for a local position.
Pressed for more comment, she simply smiled and proceeded to finish her last-minute internet commitments.
With her term as congressman expiring on June 30, 2010, Custodio’s seat, the same slot Pacquiao fought for in 2007, will be contested by another member of the powerful Antonino clan.
Originally, the pound-for-pound fighter was convinced to run for city mayor in 2004 but declined the offer because that would mean clashing with the incumbent local chief executive, Pedro Acharon Jr., a close friend and ally.
Acharon, like Custodio, will finish his third term next year.
Custodio’s revelation confirms earlier speculations made by observers that the main reason for Pacquiao’s transfer of residence was not at the initiation of his wife but to elude clashing again with the Antonino family in a congressional tussle or in the mayoral tiff.
In Sarangani Province where he is facing the combined forces of the politically dominant Chiongbian and Dominguez families, the boxer, who just recently had been chosen 2009 ‘Fighter of the Year’ by numerous sports websites, is expected to lose the second time around.