"That’s just not the way it’s done."
The great heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali was famous for chanting that he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” The phrase, actually coined by his cornerman Bundini Brown, referred to Ali’s ability to dance around his opponents and evade their punches, while landing hard with his own.
Perhaps this was in the back of the mind of the boxing senator, Manny Pacquiao, when he held an online press conference to accuse four government departments of corruption on Saturday, then left the country on Sunday without offering any documentary evidence to support his allegations.
Now we are sure that Ali never meant anyone should float away from the ring during a fight, yet this is exactly what Pacquiao seems to have done, when he boarded a flight the next day for Los Angeles to begin training for his welterweight bout against Errol Spence Jr. on Aug. 21 in Las Vegas. His flight was rerouted back to Manila because a diabetic passenger complained of health problems five hours after takeoff, but there is no news that Pacquiao will simply find another flight to LA to fulfill his fight commitments.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who has had his fair share of exposés, was among the first to remark on the paucity of Pacquiao’s evidence. Without any documents or sworn statements from witnesses, he said, there was no sufficient basis for the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to investigate the allegations of corruption raised by Pacquiao.
The onus is on Pacquiao at the very least to show some specifics in support of his allegations, Lacson said, describing these as “serious and sensitive in nature.”
“It can better serve the purpose of the exposé if relevant documents that he said he has would [produce] be submitted to the Senate President or the Blue Ribbon committee, so we can assess what next move to take on the issues that he presented in yesterday’s virtual press conference,” Lacson said.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee, remarked not only on the lack of evidence, but on the disappearance of the accuser.
Gordon said he was perplexed by Pacquiao’s call for a probe of alleged government corruption when he would not be present for the investigation.
Gordon said he was informed of a proposal for the Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate corruption allegations against the departments of Health, Social Welfare and Development, Environment and Natural Resources and Energy.
Gordon said he was also made aware that the senator who filed for the resolution would be out of the country after the filing.
He said it was “strange, if not irregular,” that the accuser would opt not to be present when the investigation is supposed to be conducted.
Pacquiao, who wants to run for president next year, has been the target of increasingly vicious sniping from his erstwhile ally, President Rodrigo Duterte. In response to one of his taunts, Pacquiao talked up his “exposé,” but produced no documents to back his claims.
“The gauntlet had been thrown down, he has chosen to pick it up,” Gordon quipped. “He who has picked it up cannot suddenly leave and ask someone else to wage the fight in his stead.”
We can only agree. That’s not the way it’s done in politics—or boxing.