Can Manny Pacquiao have his cake and eat it too?
WHILE CONGRESS was in session, the good congressman of Sarangani was occupied with boxing Shane Mosley for greater personal glory and fabulous earnings. And so it has happened that he is now the richest legislator of the Philippines and the highest paid athlete of the world—with no less than US President Barack Obama and a host of other celebrities as his fans.
It is heartening to note that many concerned Filipinos wish for his retirement from boxing now while he is still fit and able, not only for his wellbeing but more for his awesome responsibilities as Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao.
But it is sad to note that Malacañang in welcoming back the Pacman through deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte “look forward to your next fight … and that the rest of the country will be eagerly awaiting another spectacular match for the Pacman.”
Ditto with the seeming unconcern of the leadership of the House of Representatives on the matter of Representative Pacquiao’s non-attendance, with nary a peep of protest from the supposed patriotic and non-political party-list representatives of Congress. What’s more, the champion’s return to the session was lavished with more time-consuming adulation, whereas time is of the essence for more productive work.
It should be stressed that Pacquiao was elected to Congress to serve his constituents and help legislate measures for the country’s much needed transformation. It is a full-time job. And so part-timing as congressman could be inimical to good governance and might even be a betrayal of public trust in President Aquino’s “daang matuwid.” Hence, it would be unethical for Representative Pacquiao to enjoy the pay and perks of his office under this circumstance.
But, of course, we should not lose sight of his pre-fight avowal that his “greatest fight is to end poverty in my country.”
Coincidentally, Bob Arum referred to his prized fighter as the “Social Welfare Administration of the Philippines.” Hence, it probably explains Arum’s resentment to calls for Pacquiao’s retirement from boxing at this time, which the promoter described as “nonsense.” For both of them could still make much more money. Make hay while the sun shines.
But I would subscribe to Ma. Ceres P. Doyo’s seeming skepticism about Pacquiao’s fight against poverty (Inquirer, 5/12/11), especially its sustainability if ever there would be one funded with Representative Pacquiao’s own money, not with his pork barrel allocation—just as he has President Aquino’s pledge of P200 million for a hospital in Sarangani.
That could be Pacman’s gateway to greatness, far more than being an icon of boxing. But of course, the first great step is setting an example, as a good citizen—by paying the right income tax.
We pray that Pacquiao does not miss the boat for greatness.
—MEDARDO B. MEDENILLA,
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