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On The Move

Pacquiao and political dynasty

Of late, there has been much media space about the Pacquiao family’s anguish over the desire of their eldest son Jimuel, 19, to follow in the footsteps of his father in boxing. Manny Pacquiao is reported to have reluctantly allowed his son to follow his own dream of ring glory.

The financial success and luxury Manny Pacquiao has brought to his family militates against his son becoming a world-renowned boxer like his father. The sense of deprivation and desperation that goaded the young Manny Pacquiao to be a boxer cannot be transferred to his son. One has to experience that severe hunger, both physical and emotional, to develop the animus to want to clobber and be clobbered by another human being in the ring just to be able to eat a decent meal. There is no way this experience of deprivation can be retrofitted into the upbringing of the younger Pacquiao.

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A second reason is that boxing capital cannot be inherited. When the young Pacquiao enters the ring, he cannot bring into it any assets that have been accumulated by his father. He can sentimentally use his father’s boxing gloves, and his famed boxing socks, but these will have no magic power in the ring.

A third reason is that winning in boxing depends on the appreciation of the judges, occasionally known to be corruptible, but on the whole are competent professionals who value their reputation. Unlike elections that depend on voter appreciation, how the crowd boos and cheers have no real effect on the outcome of the boxing contest.

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While the boxing route appears closed, there are other options. Manny Pacquiao would perhaps do well to groom his son as a movie actor like Lito Lapid and Bong Revilla, with boxing as his signature skill. Pacquiao can even produce these movies, to promote his son’s screen boxing career. To many Filipinos, image and reality are one and the same. The young Pacquiao will be loved by the crowd, and there will be money coming his way. It will save his mother and his grandmother the heartaches and the worry that go with real boxing contests.

The formula for building movie dynasties is as cut and dried as that for building political dynasties: name recall, money, singing, acting and acrobatic talent, and family fortune and social capital management. The boundary between movie dynasties and political dynasties has been effectively erased. In due time, the younger Pacquiao can run as a senator of the republic. Thanks to Bong Go, senatorial electability has been further parsimoniously limited to presidential endorsement power.

We can only conclude that while there cannot be a Pacquiao dynasty in boxing, there is definitely a probability of a
Pacquiao political dynasty. Pacquiao’s name recall and money alone guarantee success.

How is Jimuel’s destiny tied with the nation’s destiny? Twenty or so years from now, this boy will probably be on top of an earthmoving political institution—as a governor, perhaps even as a president.

After all, Rodrigo Duterte’s father was a governor. Noynoy Aquino’s father was a governor and senator.

This suggests a tantalizing divergence: How we wish Jimuel would be more like one, rather than the other.

But this is not up to us. This depends on how the Pacquiaos enable their son to develop empathy for — or callousness against — the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized, the disadvantaged and the voiceless. Whether Jimuel will be a champion of the people, rather than a champion of the oppressors of the people, is in the Pacquiao family’s hands. Hopefully, they give their son a good dose of general humanities and science education, rather than send him off to Princeton and Oxford for cosmetic, make-believe, prestige-seeking bits of education.

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For the moment, that is all we can hope for, as we are still hopelessly trapped in the iron law of political dynasty. We need deliverance from an electoral system where the electability of a future candidate rests on family fortunes, and not on his intrinsic ability to help solve the intractable vexations of Filipino-hood.

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TAGS: Jimuel Pacquiao, Manny Pacquiao, On The Move, political dynasties, Segundo Eclar Romero
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