Pacquiao is a great boxer but…
THIS IS being written before the Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight but you will be reading it after the fight when Filipinos would either be ecstatically happy or very sad, depending on whether Manny wins or loses. This is because of the deadline requirements of newspapers. (The deadline of this column is one day before its publication.) I don’t know yet who will win but you, dear reader, by the time you read this, already know who won.
Personally, I want Manny to win not only because I’m a Filipino but also because I am turned off by Floyd Mayweather Jr. He is so mayabang. He probably got the trait from his father and namesake, Floyd Mayweather Sr., who is an even bigger braggart. I want Manny to knock some of the yabang out of Floyd Jr.
But I am also afraid of what will happen to Manny if he wins. The victory may make him and his family, especially his Mom, even more mayabang than they already are now.
Only the other day, his promoter Bob Arum said Manny is preparing to run for president of the Philippines. Look at that: Pacquiao the president? The popularity has already gone into his head.
But Arum may be mistaken, or may be bragging himself. I hope so.
But what if it is true? Lucky for us Manny won’t be qualified for next year’s election. He would still be underage. But he would be qualified in the next presidential election six years thence. And there lies the danger.
Manny may be successful and popular as a boxer, but he knows next to nothing about governance. Because of his popularity, he ran for and won the congressional seat of Sarangani province. But he is a total bust as a congressman. He is the top absentee congressman. The hard-earned tax money taxpayers are paying him and his staff is being wasted.
He does not need the extra money because he is already a billionaire (although he still owes the Bureau of Internal Revenue back taxes), but we still pay him and his staff during the long periods when he is absent because he is training for his boxing bouts, for which he earns billions more. However, the policy for the ordinary clerk who can hardly afford to feed his family with the sparse salary he gets is “no work, no pay.” Where is justice and fairness there?
As a congressman, his duty is to pass sensible laws or to participate in discussions to improve bills before they are passed. Pacquiao has not participated in any debate on any bill. During his entire career as a congressman, I think he delivered only one ghost-written speech on an unimportant subject I cannot remember.
Now he wants to run for senator after which, according to Arum, he plans to run for president. What will happen to the Philippines then if he wins? It is bad enough that Jejomar Binay, with all the baggage he is carrying, is running for president in 2016. Then it will be exacerbated by Manny running for the Senate.
What will he do in the Senate, punch senators who oppose bills he wants passed? The Senate is not the House of Representatives where many other congressmen are also total busts. The Senate is composed of men and women who are more intelligent than congressmen. Even a politician with a very low IQ can be elected to the House of Representatives because only his constituents will judge his fitness for the position. A senator is judged by the whole nation.
Look what happened to former senator Lito Lapid. A popular action star in the movies, he was persuaded to run for senator and won. He was even reelected. But what did he do there? Nothing, except wear dark-colored barong. Have you ever heard his voice debating with other senators? Have you heard him ask questions during Senate investigations? Have you seen him on television participating in Senate discussions? He could not ride his horse and shoot bad guys in the Senate, so he did exactly nothing except sit silently in a corner. For that, we taxpayers paid his salary, allowances, travel bills and other perks. And we also paid the salaries of his staff members.
The same thing will happen, I am afraid, to a Sen. Manny Pacquiao. He would be out of his league. More so as president. Kawawa naman ang Pilipinas(Pity the Philippines).
Don’t get me wrong. I admire, respect and cheer for Pacquiao—as a boxer. I think he is a great boxer, among the best in the world. But he should not squander his popularity and the love of his fans by being a public official. That’s a totally different arena. One does not fight there with his fists but with his brains.
But I know why he is doing it: He wants social status. So he bought a mansion in Forbes Park, the enclave of the rich. But his uppity neighbors snubbed him. So he sold his Forbes Park mansion and bought another one in
Beverly Hills, California, an enclave of movie stars. We have not seen yet how his neighbors there will treat him and his family.
He bought the most expensive automobiles. He built several mansions in Sarangani for his family and his mother, plus a supermarket for her. It is said that he also has a helicopter and a yacht. These are all intended to give him social status. But he doesn’t have to do all those foolish things. He already has status. He is mistaken if he thinks conspicuous consumption and displaying one’s wealth will give him social status and he would be accepted in the snobbish social circles.
None of those snobs he is trying to ape can match his status in the field of sports. None of them has appeared in magazine covers as many times as Manny. No name has been on everybody’s lips as Manny. So what more does he want? He can’t have it all. To each his own.
President Aquino’s advice is right. Manny should retire, take it easy, and enjoy life before he ends up punch-drunk as so many other fighters before him. He does not have to prove anything anymore.
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