Manny Pacquiao’s reckless metamorphosis
The first time he ran for a political post, Manny Pacquiao lost. That should have been cautionary: His legion of fans didn’t seem too comfortable with the shift from pug to politico. But listen to them he didn’t.
In 2007, Pacquiao displayed signs of becoming a traditional politician. Read that as “trapo,” that apt Pinoy pejorative for dirty politicians, the tattered piece of cloth that is a rag.
Running under the Arroyo coalition of Kampi, Pacquiao said he was “persuaded to run by local officials” — that pseudo line to signify there was a bandwagon behind them. He lost in the race to represent the first district of South Cotabato in the House.
His run in 2010 was unmistakably “trapoesque” acrobatics. He had not even sat once in office. Running under Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party, he finally won a seat in the House. But before he could even warm that seat, he announced rather nonchalantly that he was shifting to Noynoy Aquino’s Liberal Party, “so that projects will be ensured entry” in his province. To think he had not even had his first taste of porcine lard.
In less than three years, he transformed into the quintessential political butterfly. He moved to PDP-Laban under Jejomar Binay on April 16, 2012. And it has since been fly, fly, fly for Manny Pacquiao, so young yet so fleeting in political integrity, or any semblance of it.
“Trapos” become dynasts, never because of the altruism to serve, but because of money and power. The more family members to enlist, the more lard to grease the increasingly rich and famous lifestyles to which they become accustomed. As early as 2010 Pacquiao had enlisted his brother Rogelio (Roel) to run for representative of the second district of South Cotabato, but the latter was defeated.
In 2013, Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee ran and won as vice governor of Sarangani. To her credit, though, she did not run again in 2016, but one can never say when dynasts are done with the allure of power. In 2015, Pacquiao announced his candidacy as senator under Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, and took his oath of office on May 19, 2016.
In 2016, his brother Bobby won second place in the race for city councilors of General Santos. Bobby’s political career actually started in 2013 when he won as barangay councilor. His wife Lorelei is the barangay chair of the coastal community of Labangal, said to be the city’s biggest income earning barangay because it includes the Makar Wharf and two private wharves.
In 2016, Roel finally won as representative of Sarangani’s lone district, the post his pugilist brother once held. Recall that in 2010 Roel lost as representative of South Cotabato’s second district. That means he has been moving residences, in contravention of the law. In 2013 he ran as barangay chair and, winning as president of the Association of Barangay Chairpersons in the city, he earned a seat in the General Santos city council.
By running in 2016 in another province, Roel faced the threat of disqualification: He was a resident of General Santos and was in fact the chair of his barangay. All “trapos” claim they established residency the year before their run. In Roel’s case, he failed to resign as barangay chair and city councilor when he did so.
A newbie political family has become adept at political hocus-pocus. When money talks, one can simply dance, dance, dance in a game of musical chairs.
We saw a phenomenon during Pacquiao’s last fight in Brisbane: The streets were not empty, unlike before. Pay-per-view revenue was remarkably low. Many in social media cheered his defeat. Why the legionary shift?
The Filipino public is making a statement, and it is crystal: The “Pambansang Kamao” is loved over the national disgrace of the Senate’s false prophet that he has become: Quote, quote, quote the Bible, yet his devotion to Duterte kill, kill, kill and tax, tax, tax.
He says he will retire, retire, retire from boxing. Still, fight, fight, fight it is because of the pay, pay, pay of the prize money, never mind the allegations of steroid use.
Manny Pacquiao is a “trapo” par excellence.
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