Sources confirm that Senator Manny “Pac-man” Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno met as early as last year but couldn’t agree on who would run as President. Isko wouldn’t give in to Senator Ping Lacson, so it is safe to say that it was the same for Pac-Man. One has to be pragmatic when making any kind of assessment. In any case, the venerable national artist for literature F. Sionil Jose, for his part, endorses a Pacquiao-Moreno tandem for 2022 and beyond. In his PhilSTAR piece “Manny Pacquiao, Isko Moreno for 2022”, Jose writes his third column addressed to the Pac-Man. Despite admitting to not being a fan, Jose nonetheless shares his “instict” that tells him Pacquiao is “sincere” and wants to “do good via politics” and issues a call to action to the champ…
Manny, you are comparatively very young and at the height of your creative years. You can create that Workers’ Party now; convert the Party you’ll join, or already have, into a Workers’ Party that will work the whole year and not just election time. The INC and the Soka Gakkai of Japan are your organizational models, but the Party should be non-communist and non-religious.
Jose is a nonagenarian who has lived through all of the Presidents since Quezon. He managed to interview Aguinaldo which gave him insights into what the latter’s mindset was. Aguinaldo was the least-educated among Philippine Presidents. Both Pac-Man and Isko would also fall into this category. What Jose is advocating is the formation of a legitimate political party which the two can use as their vehicle to form a true party of the masang Pilipino. The problem, though, is still the sincerity and the ability to turn ideas into reality. Isko has done well in terms of social amelioration and instilling a sense of order in Manila but he is nowhere near half of his goals as he finishes his first term. Pacquiao hasn’t introduced landmark legislation either as a Congressman or Senator. This is attributable directly to him because he hires his own staff. Ronald Munsayac is incapable of functioning as his Chief of Staff. Between the two, Isko has a better decision-making process and is more independent.
Both have fallen from their initial ranking in pre-election surveys. Isko is now number 5 while Pac-Man is number 8 in Presidential preference. Both drops have been precipitous because of the shaky foundations of their political careers as they don’t have a base to begin with except their career origins; Isko in showbiz and Pac-Man as a boxer up to the present. This isn’t enough to build on for a Presidential run. Both should heed the advice of Jose and build their political stock now. Pinoys love to gravitate towards fads. The strategy for Isko was to gain exposure through social media. This was largely successful. The packaging was as a young, decisive and compassionate leader. Successful as well. But he fell short in the gravitas criteria. Duterte was a Mayor for 23 years. He had established relationships with national politicians and has the intellect even if he packages himself as the dumb promdi. This should be on the top of the list of both if they are to heed Jose’s advice.
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Pac-Man should take a page from the careers of the Lacson-Sotto tandem. Lacson is a product of the public school system. He didn’t have access to private education. Even his post-graduate education was obtained at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. Yet Lacson has shown his ability to grow into any government post given him; he excelled in his career with the Philippine Constabulary and then as Senator, where he judiciously scrutinizes the national budget for pork barrel insertions. Sotto does not even have a post-graduate degree. Nor is he a lawyer. But he has been an assiduous student of parliamentary procedure and consensus-building. This is the path he charted for himself to become Senate President. Isko should have taken the opportunity to be mentored by Lacson if he agreed to be his running mate. But maybe it wasn’t meant to be as Sotto is definitely more qualified and brings more to the table as Vice-President should they be victorious. This is the path that Pac-Man should be looking at so it would be best for him to run for reelection instead of wasting money on a Presidential campaign with no clear path to victory.
Becoming President is determined not only by fate and destiny but also by preparation. Pac-Man and Isko should heed the advice of Jose. Their time will come in the future when they are better prepared for the challenges of leadership. For now, it’s best to leave it in the hands of those who have put in the effort to get to where they are now.
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