Worrisome 2022 elections (2)
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The word “pakyaw” in Cebuano-Visayan means to acquire things in bulk. As many businesspersons know, pakyaw is the practice of buying everything a seller is offering. Manny Pacquiao, more popularly known as “Pacman,” has become a world boxing champion in different lineal weight divisions of the sport, and the first one to have achieved this feat. He is also the first world boxer ever to have won in four of what is considered “glamorous” divisions in boxing, namely flyweight (112 pounds), featherweight (126 pounds), lightweight (135 pounds), and welterweight (147 pounds). This makes him a champion in eight divisions in his entire boxing career. On top of these landmark achievements, he is the only boxer in the world who has retained his world championship belts over four decades.
Many of his Cebuano-speaking fans say that he has truly lived up to his family name, “napakyaw na niya mga titulo sa boxing!” Indeed, he has fought almost all of the world’s highly ranked boxers, adjusting his body weight to the division where he wants to challenge that division’s champion. And he has successfully become champion in different boxing weight divisions, garnering heightened international fame, and of course, amassing fortune from the windfall of dollars as the new titleholder of each weight division he fights in.
Last week, Pacquiao formally announced through his social media post that he is saying goodbye to boxing, sharing that it was one of the “most painful decisions” he has made so far. But I think he decided to do this since he wants to sit in the country’s highest political position—as president. Perhaps he is thinking that being a champion prizefighter may not sit well with an esteemed position like the presidency.
Pacquiao was among the first presidential wannabes to have filed his certificate of candidacy on the first day of October.
For the last few months, Pacquiao’s strained relations with President Duterte intensified with his accusations of massive corruption happening in the national bureaucracy, notably in offices run by Mr. Duterte’s poster boys such as the Department of Health and in the Inter-Agency Task Force. Pacquiao used to be a staunch Duterte ally, supporting the President’s policies against same-sex marriage, and on the imposition of the death sentence, among other flawed policy statements.
If he wins in his first bid for the highest position in the country, he will already have made “pakyaw” his political career as well. His last boxing curtain call was made as he responded to a new one beckoning him to Malacañang.
Does Pacquiao deserve to be the next president?
We can check on his achievements as a senator if he has been up to the task. How many bills has he passed, and have these bills become national laws? If indeed these bills have become laws, is the number of these bills higher than the times he has been absent from his legislative office to fight in the boxing ring? What about corruption?
Pacquiao has repeatedly claimed he has been honest in not having spent government money for personal use, saying that he has used some of his boxing revenues for official business. However, he is notorious as an absentee senator. This leaves us some doubts about his being “clean as a whistle” as far as corruption is concerned. Is he aware that corruption can take many forms, and stealing from government coffers is just one of them? He may claim being clean in this regard, but his hands are dirty as far as being absent from his duties at the Senate is concerned.
Depriving the government of the time you are mandated to serve it by being absent from your job is still a form of dishonesty. But perhaps Pacquiao also believes in Sara Duterte’s view that honesty is not an issue as far as politicians are concerned?
P.S. Thank you to reader Jose Gabiana for correcting me in my column last week. I stand corrected. Joseph Estrada indeed started his political career as a mayor of San Juan, not Manila.
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