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Against Manny Pacquiao?

By BARBARA GONZALEZ- VENTURA, The Philippine STAR Published Sep 05, 2021 5:00 am

Write about the possibility of electing Manny Pacquiao for president and immediately you see how divided and prejudiced our country is.

The first rush of texts I received were clearly from the Duterte social media network. They called me names from the President’s mouth. I mean, when you create a social media network to build your image and make people look at you with just a touch of respect, you should teach them better language. Instruct them not to use your words.

When they use your words, they are very obviously your people. Only people who, strangely enough, love you will listen to your social media network, smile and vigorously nod. How does that help what one assumes your aim is: to make people who actually think think positively about you?   

Then there was the group of people who don’t like Manny Pacquiao because he’s a boxer. Sure, he’s a very successful boxer, they say; but he probably doesn’t know anything about Philippine politics. His brain is probably smashed and damaged so that all he can do is fight in the ring until he loses and now he has lost. That’s the end of him. 

This is a group that can only consider the most external layers of a person; a group that probably doesn’t even consider that we are all multi-faceted. 

Every person I know, whether rich or poor, has a body, a mind, a heart, a soul. We all have skills and talents. We all have different degrees of drive and ambition. Also, we are all capable of growth and change.

There are people who don’t like Manny Pacquiao simply because he’s a boxer. (AP photo)

I remember how naïve I was when I was in my 20s. You would not believe that a young woman would mature and grow into the person I am today. 

When I was three years old, my grandma was standing at the top of our front stairs talking to my uncle who was at the bottom step. I was enjoying myself, twisting between her legs, when suddenly I fell and rolled down those 16 cement steps. I became unconscious. I woke up in bed. My grandmother was wringing her hands and crying. My uncle was trying to soothe her. Lola thought the fall had made me dumb. I grew up and realized that, no, maybe I owe my brains to the cement stairs. See, nothing is impossible. 

I like that Manny Pacquiao knows nothing about Philippine politics. I like that he was a winning boxer because that means he has guts to go in there and — after he kneels in his corner, prays, then removes the rosary from around his neck — fights the best way he knows how.

Sure, he gets black eyes and all manner of injuries, but he has the guts to fight. He doesn’t bluster before fights. Thurman did. His other many enemies did, too. All Manny did was smile and say something like, “We shall see what happens.” 

And that’s what would happen if elected, since he doesn’t know much about Philippine politics (which I doubt, but he doesn’t talk about it). We shall all see what happens. That’s the way it is with all presidents.

Then there’s the criticism about his spending too much on his clothes, his women, his gambling, his wife, his mother — the whole shebang. Let’s take his last fight, which he lost, but he still got paid $25 million, less 30 percent for taxes, leaving $17.5 million or P875 million.

By this time he’s already paid for his palaces, his cars, his businesses; we can say that he has the full amount clean. Let’s say he spends P50 million on Gucci jackets, etc., for the whole family. He still has P825 million clean. Do not judge him just by that.

He has built homes for poor people. He has helped typhoon victims from his own pocket. How many Philippine politicians do you know who did that from their own pockets? If you’re like me, the answer is NONE. Not one.

In reality, I absolutely hate Philippine politics. Maybe that’s why I write about Manny Pacquiao. I see in him the makings of a different Filipino politician. He has a lot of money earned legitimately in boxing rings prior to running for office. His pockets are full to the brim. He has life experience. He has sown his wild oats. He is different from any politician I know.

Now let me tell you why some of you might not vote for him. Someone texted me that you have to be 45 years old to run for president. I seemed to remember that from my high school history book. So I looked it up on Google. It said that, to run for president or vice president of the Philippines today, you must be a natural-born citizen, able to read and write, and be 40 years of age at the time of the elections.

So obviously Manny Pacquiao can run for president.

Any more protests?

Photo by AFP