"What will it be for the Pacman?"
Senator Manny Pacquiao is currently in the United States training for arguably the biggest fight of his long and storied career. Just before leaving, however, he released some kind of a bombshell about corruption in the Duterte administration.
In military strategy, one is thought to avoid a two-front war at all costs. Yet, it appears that this is exactly what Senator Pacquiao decided to do—to fight a two-front war. He of course said that he is only helping the President fight corruption. According to him, his quarrel is not with the President but on corruption. Whether that is true or not, is of course another matter. He is doing all these because according to people very close to him, he has decided to go after the biggest price of all—the presidency of the land.
It makes us all wonder whether come August 21, he can concentrate on fighting a boxer who is 3 ½ inches taller, 11 years younger, and is much more muscular than he is. All that while skirmishing with all those rebellious elements of his political party, the PDP-Laban who maneuvered to oust him as party president. He must really be supremely confident in his mental strength and athletic prowess. But maybe that is all part of his plan. His choosing the most fearsome boxer in his division available and tangling with the biggest political fish of them all—the President.
Pacquiao is perhaps figuring that there is nothing to lose in these fights. If he loses to Spence, at least he chose the best fighter available, did not run away from it, and fought a good fight. If he wins, the adulation might be enough to propel him to Malacañang. Filipinos do love the underdog who wins. But it is a huge gamble. Showing his political savvy will also prove that he can survive and flourish in the rough and unforgiving world of Philippine politics.
His so-called corruption expose is a demonstration and he timed it as he was just leaving for training in Los Angeles. That way, proving and explaining will have to wait till he comes back. If we look at some polls that have come out recently, Pacquiao is not rating at the top. Yet, he seems hell bent on wanting to run for the presidency. Many folks would say that he should be satisfied that the people have gifted him with a Senate seat but his objective appears to be a lot higher and he is in a hurry. Whether he believes that the people, in the end, will vote for him mainly due to his athletic prowess remains to be seen. But we have to admit that his journey from a very humble beginning to where he is right now is nothing short of spectacular. We have seen other athletes in other disciplines like basketball become Senators of the realm like Freddie Webb and Robert Jaworski. But Manny Pacquiao is the first pugilist to be elected Senator. That he is adored by a multitude of people is unquestioned. That is the reason why he is a senator today. But the presidency is altogether a different banana.
Does Pacquiao have what it takes to be president? If we follow what the constitution tells us, the answer is yes. After all, one must only need to know how to read and write and not be less than 40 years of age. And to his credit, he went to a lot of trouble to study and improve himself. He was even awarded a college degree by a university and is I believe a Brigadier General in the Philippine Army Reserve.
All these, however, do not seem to satisfy his critics who continue to denigrate and belittle his academic accomplishments. We know, of course, that success in life is not always equated to the number of degrees that one has. Several years ago, when he bought a house in the very exclusive Forbes Park enclave, there were people there who objected, strongly thinking perhaps that Pacquiao did not deserve to be there. If at all, he is one person who deserves to be there. At least he bought the house with money he earned with his sweat and blood. Just what sort of people are allowed to live there anyway? It is revolting to see that there are still some people in this country, who are so class conscious.
If Pacquiao does run for the presidency, he should be judged solely on the basis of his platform of government, his vision for the country, his moral leadership and whether he has what it takes to run a very fractious country such as ours. So, what will it be for the Pacman—all the marbles or bust?