Filipino authorities on Thursday certified their national election results, thereby making boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao one of the island nation’s 24 senators.
Filipinos elected 12 new senators on May 9, and Pacquiao finished seventh, with more than 16 million votes.
It signals the end of his legendary boxing career, which began as a child when he left home to fight to earn money for his destitute family.
He rose to unimaginable heights, winning world titles in a record eight weight classes and becoming one of the two most popular fighters in the world.
He was involved in three of the 14 best-selling pay-per-views in boxing history and developed a loyal and passionate fan base.
Pacquiao released a statement Thursday in which he spoke of his vision for his six-year term in the Senate. He did not mention his boxing career, but he announced his retirement following an April 9 win over Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas.
His statement in full
Several months ago, we mounted a campaign to heed the call for help from the poor and downtrodden Filipino masses.
We went out and joined them in their homes and places of work, we listened to their longings and assured them that a new beginning is coming. Over the past week, we heard those same voices strongly during the recent national electoral process.
The message was very clear: Filipinos want their government back in the hands of the ordinary people. They want a new set of leaders who would stand up for their aspirations and share their goals.
For that reason alone, I accept the challenge with utmost humility and gratitude. For the millions of common folks who believe in my capacity to put into words what they cannot express; to champion the causes closest to their hearts; and to serve them in a higher and greater platform, you have just won a seat in the Senate. My dearest kababayans, the victory is really yours.
I want to reiterate what I have been telling my countrymen from the mountain ranges in Luzon, to the coastal towns of Visayas, to the riverside settlements of Mindanao: I will not let you down. I will not steal from you. I will not fail you. Rest assured I do everything for God and our country.