Boxing great Manny Pacquiao close to Philippine Senate win

FILE - In this Friday, May 6, 2016, file photo, Congressman Manny Pacquiao, who is running for senator in the national elections, smiles from a campaign vehicle during a campaign rally in Navotas,north of Manila, Philippines. The boxing great appears to have won a seat in the Philippine Senate, according to unofficial results. Pacquiao has garnered more than 15 million votes, with about 93 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Boxing great Manny Pacquiao appears to have won a seat in the Philippine Senate, according to unofficial results.

Pacquiao has garnered more than 15 million votes, with about 93 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday. That places him eighth among candidates for 12 Senate seats, and nearly 3 million votes ahead of the candidate in 13th place. Official results are days away.

He cast his vote Monday in his home turf of southern Sarangani province. He had bounced back in polls after losing support in February over remarks he made about same-sex marriage.

Pacquiao had said people in same-sex relations are “worse than animals.” He apologized to people hurt by his comments but made clear he opposed gay marriage.

He is the Philippines’ most famous athlete and among the wealthiest sports celebrities in the world. He has represented Sarangani province in the House of Representatives since May 2010.

Pacquiao ran under the losing ticket of presidential candidate Jejomar Binay but has also been endorsed by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the winner of the presidential race according to unofficial results.

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