Veteran politician Chavit Singson, a long-time supporter of Sen. Manny Pacquiao the sportsman, said Wednesday the recently retired boxing legend was unqualified to be president.
Singson, mayor of Narvacan town in Ilocos Sur, said he tried to dissuade Pacquiao from seeking the highest office in the land. The two earlier had a falling out over tobacco taxes, which Pacquiao pushed for to the possible detriment of the cigarette industry in Singson's province.
"Hindi pa siguro panahon ni Sen. Manny Pacquiao. Unang-una hindi siya qualified. Ang presidente kasi you have to be well educated if not well experienced," the Narvacan, Ilocos Sur mayor said in an interview, a video of which was posted online by Inquirer.net.
"Hindi puwedeng i-elect mo yung presidente na mapapahiya tayo dahil yan ang mukha nating Pilipino," he said.
Singson was a permanent fixture in Pacquiao's boxing matches until the lawmaker's last match with Cuba's Yordenis Ugas in August that ended in defeat and was followed by his retirement from the sport.
Among those vying for the presidency, Singson said he considers former senator Bongbong Marcos and Sen. Panfilo Lacson to be qualified. For now, he said he would support the candidacy of Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for vice president.
"Sinabi ko naman kay Manny noon you cannot have everything in life...Kung boxer ka, doon ka na lang as a boxer," Singson said.
"Kung ako sa kanya, balik na lang senator, doon siya makakuha ng maraming experience and later on isipin mabuti kung dapat ba tataas pa," he added.
Pacquiao is running for president alongside his longtime ally, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza who is seeking the vice presidency.