Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao was the first presidential aspirant to file a certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2022 elections on Friday at the Sofitel hotel in Pasay City..

Mr. Pacquiao, who used a certificate of nomination from the Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives (PROMDI), filed his COC along with party-list lawmaker Jose “Lito” L. Atienza Jr., who will be his running mate.

In his speech, Mr. Pacquiao said that if given the chance, he will focus on the country’s pandemic recovery. The boxer-turned-politician also recited his goals to boost internet speed and lower electricity rates in the country.

Mr. Pacquiao, the pastor of a born-again Christian group, has advocated for the revival of death penalty in the country. His running mate Mr. Atienza, who represents a religious party-list group in the 18th Congress, is against the death penalty and is known for his stance against divorce.

A PDP-Laban faction led by Senator Aquilino Pimentel earlier nominated Mr. Pacquiao as its standard bearer for the 2022 polls. The PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, meanwhile, had picked Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go and President Rodrigo R. Duterte as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively.

Mr. Pacquiao said he filed his COC with PROMDI because the ruling party PDP-Laban still “has problems.” The poll body has yet to decide on which of the two PDP-Laban factions is legitimate.

Several personalities, including a fitness coach and a medical professional, also informed the public of their intention to run for president in next year’s elections.

A former nuisance candidate also filed a COC for president.

In a press briefing, Comelec spokesman James B. Jimenez said people who had been declared as nuisance candidates in past elections may still file their COCs for the 2022 polls.

“It is possible that they are no longer nuisance candidates. We cannot automatically say that just because they were a nuisance in the past, their circumstances haven’t changed now,” he said. “We have to take each case as it comes.”

Mr. Jimenez said nuisance candidates are those who file their COCs to “put the election process in mockery; or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates; or who by other acts or circumstances is clearly demonstrated to have no bona fide intention to run for public office.”

Meanwhile, after having said on Sept. 6 that he would consider a run for the presidency to ensure economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Taguig-Pateros Representative and former House Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano said that he will not run for president in the upcoming 2022 elections.

“I really feel that if I run for President, it would be more divisive than (a decision) to bring (Filipinos) together,” he said in a radio interview.

Mr. Cayetano is one of the top picks for potential senatorial candidates for 2022 in a survey conducted from Sept. 6 to 11 by Pulse Asia Research, Inc. — Kyle Aristophere Atienza with Russell Louis C. Ku