Manny Pacquiao: do pro boxing and national politics mix?

Thanks to GR Post commenter ‘FelYounghusband’ for a comment she posted on my previous article “Where was Philippine Congressman Manny Pacquiao when Typhoon Pablo devastated Mindanao?” as it eloquently consolidates and summarises commentary posted by a few others. The following excerpt I believe encapsulates the point FelYounghusband and a few others were trying to bring across:

I don’t think it is fair to judge the boxer as if he was some cold-hearted person for being there boxing while we were hit by the typhoon. What was he supposed to do here? Row the boats for his countrymen. It seems that everything that he has done for his people in the past can just be ignored just because he was there to stick to a commitment he made to the sport that gave him everything. The Pacquiao companies that are now employing hundreds of Filipinos were all made because of his career. Being a congressman, his primary duty is legislative in nature but disasters are normally the responsibility of the offices under the president and the LGU’s.

My response:

Manny_PacquiaoI’m not saying Pacquiao is a “cold-hearted person”. What I’m saying is that circumstances surrounding the Champ, one of which is his being a pro-boxer mixed with his being a government official, imposed a compromise on his latter role as public servant.

To be sure he did not consciously want to be away from his constituents at their time of need and, as some commenters here pointed out, the match was scheduled months in advance while Typhoon Pablo was a random tragic freak of nature.

I do not second guess what his voters think of him as it is quite certain that they will adore their Champ warts and all. Rather I do, as I have clearly stated in the article, cite the way some ‘activists’ and media people make a big deal of how other Congressmen manage to find the time to fly to Vegas to watch the fight conveniently forgetting that Pacquiao too is himself a Congressman.

For that matter, it is not just being away from the country in times of disaster that gets Congressmen (whether they are a boxing champ or not) in hot water. Legislators like Lito Lapid and Bong Revilla et al routinely get criticised for nursing a showbiz career alongside being government officials. I am questioning in my pervious article why Pacquiao is so special as to be spared similar criticism.

Indeed, some people will bet good money that Kris Aquino will, herself, be President someday. I do not think even that otherwise ridiculous notion (in normal societies) is that farfetched a scenario as I wouldn’t put it past the Pinoy voter to vote such a person to the highest office in the land.

My point is, politics in da Pinas is already so mediocre as it is and it would help if Pinoys learn to habitually expect no less than A-Plus performance from their politicians to at least motivate them to get to C+. But if we uphold a mere B- standard as we seem to be willing to maintain then we shouldn’t be too surprised if our so-called “leaders” routinely step up to a mere F+.

If I had a kid who is a top-notch athlete but regularly gets C minuses at school, I wouldn’t be too happy. Unless you are quite certain you will be a successful pro athlete (a one-on-a-million shot at best), it is not very likely that a focus on sport will buy you that Mercedes Benz ten years hence. One needs to make a choice as to which underaking is the more important in the bigger scheme of things.

For some, being a pro boxer (or an actor, or a basketball player, or the Megastar’s husband) is, perhaps, a valid excuse for being a mediocre politician. But for me excuses are necessarily convenient veiled advanced apologies for an expected future of mediocre performance.

As voters, Filipinos should have thought through properly whether they wanted to be represented in the legislature by a boxer who will make them “proud” over what (optimistically) may be another 2- to 3-year stint as the pound-for-pound Champ or a thought leader who will craft laws that will serve the country decades hence. True legislators earn their mark on history not by doling out money (in this case, money that is but a small percentage of their vast personal wealth). They make their mark by doing their job — creating laws that leave lasting legacies — properly.

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21 Comments on “Manny Pacquiao: do pro boxing and national politics mix?”

  1. I sense some bitterness in this post. Still, I think they are actually doing better than other politicians who are actually not even doing good in other areas. This may be due to their experience in being better/best at something in the first place.

  2. Jack of all trades, master of none. No argument that Manny took God given ability and developed it. Still, you can be a great chemist and not be even a decent politician . Being a chemist is a lot more intellectual than being a boxer. Faced it, he cashed it on his popularity and no real experience in leading or administrating or institutional decision making. There is absolutely nothing wrong with questioning a public servant’s motivation. Specially when their normal job puts them in the upper echelon of the world, what’s left for your constituents? Let’s not forget the game shows and the albums. He does see himself as a Renaissance Man. Sorry, I don’t look at Manny and see Leonardo DaVinci.

  3. since the bill is very watered down, its more of a psychological victory. dont get me wrong, even psychological victories may be important

    even if it was not passed, the fact that more people know about contraceptives and may be even considering using them is victory enough

  4. The guy lost but he bagged $22 Million as his winning. The very reason he was elected congressman by people engrossed with patronage politics. At least he does not have to depend so much on his pork barrels to satisfy his constituents.

  5. Not buying the mitigating circumstances argument. He was absent from his job at a critical time because it coincided with a boxing match — why is that substantially different than every other time (which I understand means “most of them”) he’s been MIA from Congress? I don’t see any real commitment from the guy towards anything, I see a collector: the physical manipulation to fight in so many weight classes, the game shows, the albums, the seat in Congress (remember, he failed to win in his home province, so simply moved to one where he could — so much for sincerity for representing his community)are all no more remarkable than notches on a gun.

    And he’s half-assed his last half dozen fights in “the sport that gave him so much”.

    Call a spade a spade. This guy was – maybe still is – the best performer in a sport historically and universally considered the sleaziest and most corruption-riddled of any professional sport, which is saying something, since the sports industry in general is not exactly held up as a monument to ethics. So does anyone really want to get into what your “hero” says about your country?

    1. That is exactly what I have been saying in my blogs for years Ben. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is sleaze. Boxing has detiorated to the point that no one cares who hold any one the 168 different heavyweight belts. Floyd may be a piece of work but it’s not like Manny is Mother Teresa. Just like you mentioned weight manipulation. How many of the Manny zombies really know what’s involved in that? Boxing was already bad in the 70s and its far worse now. But for pinoys , its ok to be the big fish in a sleazy pond. As long as they get the pansin they crave. More on that in my next GRP contribution.

    2. IT sounds as though you are insinuating that Manny is up to some unethical business. As though he manipulated his wins in boxing.

      Manny is a hero in a sense that he rose above the rest of the Filipino people, mastered his craft and took risks. We should all applaud him for all his accolades and we should all strive to be like him in those sense.

      I don’t know why you’re bashing the man for some of his failures. A man who takes risks is prone to failure, but great risks can heap great rewards. A man who does nothing wins nothing.

      He took a huge risk in taking a fourth fight with a man he knows troubles him, he took a huge risk coming forward against a man known to throw counters, he took a huge risk trying to finish the man in the final seconds of the round. Had he finished his man, the world would’ve showered him with love, but it didn’t go his way.

      Great men takes risks Benk, That’s what makes him a hero.

  6. I still agree with the Bible: No servant can serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other. I wonder if losing this fight shows what he loves more now.

    1. @ ChinoF

      The servant/slave metaphor in the Bible is not about mans legal responsibility but a psychological one. God warned against the idolization of the pursuit of money, not the renunciation of wealth.

      This thread showed absolute ignorance about what members of congress can and are allowed to engage in while performing their legislative duties. How many members of congress are CEO’s of their own corporation? Or sitting as board of director or consultant for big corporations? Or law partners representing private interests? Or entertainment as in the case of these dumbheads Ejercito and Revilla, et al. These are services that keep them away from their legislative chores, so what’s the big deal about boxing?

      1. Exactly. Manny gets a lot of heat because he is very transparent and high-profile.

        Most of my posts about Manny Pacquiao lose clarity because I feel for the guy. He is very sincere and has accomplished a lot through dedication and hard work. What makes me disheartened is that the hangers-on around him are taking advantage and using him for their own agendas. This has led him into all sorts of things, from politics to religion.

        There are also some individuals groups are using him to make themselves look good or important.. and the crabs are just waiting around for a chance to tear him down. This much is obvious. But he is not exposed enough to the “real world” to see these things.

  7. I feel sorry for manny – used and manipulated by others, not very bright and incapable of much independent thought or action.
    Maybe his switch of and immersion in a new religion is a sign of frustration, being lost, searching for an escape.
    His real problem will only start when he stops boxing.
    The political hangers on will use his popularity which will wane, his satisfaction will reduce especially if he gets criticism rather than adulation, and he cannot simply buy popularity forever by giving away money/gifts.
    Maybe he will begin to realise just how much he has been used by his so called friends
    He has time to change and i hope he does but with chavit singson sticking to him like a leech i dont give him much hope long term. Next pacquaio will be on the electon csmpaign for chavits sons no doubt
    Bad judgement on choice of people – except freddie roach who is not only a good trainer but one of the few good guys in a sport which is synonymous with shady characters.

  8. All I can say Benigno is I am a HE 🙂 Anyway, we have different opinions about the people’s champ but still much respect to you! For me, if there’s one thing he really $uck at, it’s acting. I’d be surprised if you disagree.

  9. Filipino masa are a bunch of hypocrites. Isn’t it contradicting that so-called Christians worship Manny the sportsman more than God the creator of all? Really hypocritical. My dad loves the Philippines enough to point out what many things we need to better as a nation and he doesn’t even care for this guy. Oohh is he unpatriotic now?

    I wish filipinos go for more respectable type of sports. How I wish that filipinos fund more for education and sports recreation. I like baseball and cycling. It’ll be a dream to hear a filipino making it in tour de France. Cheers.

  10. as a certain boxer said.
    pacquaio is what he is because of freddie roach.
    can noone in the philippines do anything without the help of other people/ countries.
    he is and will be a failure in politics because he can do nothing on his own. maybe he needs a US adviser. the current jungle monkeys around him only want easy money and dont have the iq of a banana between them.

  11. Pacquiao is a victim of dirty politicians around him. Ill advised. Pacquiao can be a person and a hero that can do a lot of good things for the country. As a billionaire, he should have just let his career in boxing prevail rather than mixing both.

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