BOXING AS A LEGISLATIVE JOKE
Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, 37, 8th Division Boxing World Champion, awardee of Doctorate Degree on Humanities (Honoris Causa) from Southwestern University, former Congressman, retired athlete.
Ooops! Wait a minute. He announced his retirement from boxing a few summers ago before he filed his candidacy for the Senate and now with a twist, contemplating to fight anew after winning a Senate seat?
He won and placed 7th in the field of 12 among 50 candidates. He won over great political names the likes of Serge Osmena, Tito Guingona, Neri Colmenares, Susan Ople, Lorna Kapunan, etc. He won convincingly with almost 16 million votes from a stars truck constituency—the same bulk of voters who probably elected the likes of Lito Lapid, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla; they who probably wished that government will be managed by Rene Requiestas, Panchito, Babalu, Cachupoy, except that the wisdom of these thespians never forced them to an adoring public who are mostly idiots.
I have nothing against an extraordinary athlete whose stride gave the Philippines a significant spot in the field of sports in the global arena. There is actually nothing erroneous in the choice of Pacquaio as a political leader. He can handpick the best minds among legal luminaries in Asia and the best thinker in the academe to help him flesh out the best policy for his countrymen and thereafter, come up with a comprehensive law uplifting the nation’s quality of life. He can also use his celebrity status in tapping scientists and great legal minds abroad as consultant in formulating laws. The possibilities are great with Pacquaio at the helm. The country would likely benefit from his name alone never mind his mental acuity.
He was a valuable jewel in the political machinery of VP Binay, a crowd drawer, a phenomenal personality that can attract even the skeptics. He was also the choice of then Presidential contender Du30. To a nation embellished with scandals, buried in corrupt practices, abused and exploited, the figure of a self-made man like Pacquaio is like a whiff of fresh air. His victory alone makes the ordinary man, struggling to keep his skin and bones together, entertained fully. Just like reel heroes who were also elected out of desperation and perhaps a complete break from the monotonous scholars who never made the country any prouder, Pacquiao’s triumph may as well signal relief.
That was the principal belief when he was elected as Congressman. What happened however was, his tight schedule as athlete never gave him the phase to legislate. He was absent most of the time. He chose to hone up his physical condition, a routine which he cannot do if he attends to his regular legislative work load. Whatever results he may have received however, it is always positive for the country. He would rather be fit as sports ambassador rather than legislator.
And now as senator, Manny promised his constituency that he had folded up his globes. No more fight from thereon according to him. He would rather offer his decision on his worried mother and family. Most of all, to the electorate. He would champion the cause of the poor with his legislative intents and performance.
Barely has the Senate opened its door for the newly elected, and barely has the newly minted senator found his seat in the august body, an offer from Las Vegas (or was it MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay) was made. He must fight again according to his manager. There is nothing to worry according to his sponsor because Manny will fight while Senate is on recess. And so during those few weeks, Manny will compress and daily for 24 hours without sleep prepare his body for the grueling fight?
Prize fighting indeed has its own temptation, lure and enticement. There was a challenge but of course it is the purse which makes it more laudable, never mind the political commitment and social backlash of the acceptance.
What would leave us breathless except for the fact there is another looming fist-to-rama in the horizon, featuring an aging athlete (reaching the 30s in sports is like attaining the status of a senior citizen already in the ordinary world) pitted against another upstart in the boxing universe. Whether Pacquiao wins or loses does not matter anymore. His 8th Division feat could no longer be erased, well, unless some good athlete in the future would be able to duplicate if not overtakes the record. Pacquaio’s triumph or defeat could no longer count once the prize money has been delivered; it is the loss of his constituent that makes the hard and agonizing truth unbearable to comprehend.
Here is an elected senator, getting paid for by people’s money and still getting paid by money from the boxing tills. He is twice awarded for his enterprise. A lucky person indeed, something unheard of in developed countries with matured government leadership.
But don’t get me wrong. I am not bashing Pacquaio. For me he is The Manny Pacquaio, the most prodigious Filipino boxer of my generation. I would protect his reputation with mine. I would hail him to high heavens out of respect. He is the sportsman of every sportsman. He is my logo of fairness in competition. He always fights the good fight. He was not only good, he is great.
Of course, MY Pacquaio is different from the politician Pacquaio. And it cannot be reconciled. I have never mistaken a sculptor as a surgeon. No way.
While his people regale at his exploits in his homeland, in a faraway land, this is seen an ordinary case of a legislative joke.