AFTER having been very critical of his ambitious plans, I thought about the issue the past few days, and I’ve changed my mind. I’m convinced Sen. Emmanuel “Pacman” Pacquiao should run for the post of President of the Republic.
His candidacy will be good for our democracy and the country’s image, especially globally, which is in tatters because of the US media and their brown minions’ relentless tirades against President Duterte.
For a dirt-poor Filipino to become one of the greatest boxers of all time, and to cap his career by going for the highest post of the land, Pacquiao running for president will show the world that we are such a vibrant democracy, where anybody can vie for the position. The downside to this of course is the possibility that there would be a deluge of young Filipinos going into boxing rather than college, believing they could, like “Pacman,” later in their life get a four-year course in three months.
The silly reportage of US media and by the likes of Maria Ressa, Randy David and Sheila Coronel that we have an authoritarian government will be totally debunked if Pacman runs for president. The Philippines will be the darling of the foreign press, as we will be only the second country after Liberia to have a sports celebrity running for president. (The football star succeeded in Liberia.)
Pacman is loved by the masses and is even being transformed into a martyr because of President Duterte’s attacks against him, Ramon Tulfo argued in his recent Philippine Star column, implying that he has a chance of winning. But that means he would be a worthy competitor to Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio or Sen. Bong Go, which means we will be portrayed in the world as having a vibrant democracy.
Look: If instead Leni Robredo were to be the opposition’s standard bearer, who would likely lose by the biggest landslide ever in our country, you can just imagine the furor, with the US media and the Yellows shouting that it’s a worse rerun of Marcos defeating Cory in the 1986 snap elections.
Pacman’s running will also be good for the country, especially if he becomes the standard bearer of the PDP-Laban, of which he is the president. That looks likely based on an alleged document given to me, dated June 8, 2021, showing that he had written to the PDP leadership demanding that vice chairman “Alfonso Cusi and his cohorts” (who have criticized him for his accusations against the Duterte administration) be “immediately and automatically expelled from PDP-Laban.”
I’m not sure though if looking down from heaven, the opposition’s saint, Benigno Aquino Jr., who founded the party, would be smiling or scowling at the PDP-Laban coalition – which had been famous for its anti-Marcos struggle – for picking a soon-to-retire professional boxer for its standard bearer.
PDP-Laban, together with the Liberal Party, had been the core of the Yellow plague that has ruled the country since 1986. Pacquiao’s defeat in 2022 will mean the institutional death of the Yellows, so fitting as it would be following the death of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Pacquiao thinks he can win the presidency because of his celebrity status, since recent Philippine elections had celebrities (those with brand names) running for that highest of government posts – Fernando Poe Jr., his daughter Grace and of course Benigno Aquino 3rd.
That in fact has been the fatal weakness of our modern democracy, because media has been able to spread the celebrities’ name throughout the land, and fool voters that their persona, their image, is their real persons, i.e., the movie hero FPJ as the hero who would save the country, FPJ’s daughter as continuing his fight, and the son of the saints of democracy as “not falling far from the tree.” I suspect one of Pacman’s campaign lines would be “Patutumbahin ko ang kahirapan.”
Pacman’s losing the presidency will mean the excision of this celebrity cancer in our presidential elections.
But to borrow the immortal words of Dolphy when he was offered to run for president, what if Pacman wins? Who knows? Maybe he’ll demonstrate a brilliance we’ve never seen before, a miracle since with the more than 10,000 blows to his head, experts on boxers’ injuries say, he is almost certain to suffer later brain shrinkage and degeneration, the scientific term for which is chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
On his inauguration, Pacman will likely kneel and look at the sky in a prayerful pose to thank the Deity for his biggest victory. That’s what he does after every fight that he wins, to thank God that he nearly killed with brutal blows another human being for the sake of gold and glory. His best friend, the jovial Buboy Fernandez, will probably be his Bong Go.
However, I don’t think running for the presidency will be a good idea for him personally. The stress of the political campaign led to FPJ’s death. So did being president in the case of Noynoy, who apparently had gone down with kidney, heart and, some say, even lung, diseases.
Pacman will likely have to spend his entire multibillion-peso fortune. Despite reports of Ramon Ang supporting him (which the business tycoon has denied, saying he was terribly misquoted), I don’t think any business magnate would give him campaign funds. They would tell him he has the money anyway, and to use that first. Wakes of political and media vultures will be circling him incessantly, promising him he would win if he just paid for their political network, PR prowess and media coverage.
This early, a clever PR operator has already wangled P50 million from him for a program to portray him as a viable presidential candidate. Believe me, if he runs and loses, he will lose his shirt so that he may have to sell his Forbes Park and Dasmariñas mansions and move to an apartment in General Santos.
Who would be Pacquiao’s running mate? In deference to the founder of the party that Pacquiao is the standard bearer of, it should be none other than the late opposition leader’s popular daughter Kris Aquino. His PR people, however, would struggle to come up with a catchy name for the tandem – Pacq-Aq? Pac-Kris?
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