By Raïssa Robles
World boxing champ Manny Pacquiao has 12 years to reinvent and educate himself as a serious candidate for the Philippine presidency.
Born December 17, 1978, he will only turn 40 years old in 2018 – which is too late to join the 2016 presidential polls.
But this early, many are already speculating he will be President someday. I’m sure he wants to be – to help the poor.
Pacquiao’s bout today with Shane Mosely gave me the shudders afterward because I saw hovering behind Pacquiao the “wrongest” role model of a Filipino politician. I am referring to Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, whose political rule in the north spans perhaps half a century. Singson is a political warlord and warlordism is what he can teach Pacquiao.
A year ago, Pacquiao credited Singson as the man who can teach him “political boxing”. Pacquiao said admiringly:
“He has been in service for so long. I will learn a lot from him as a public servant and it’s a privilege to be his friend.”
Basking in Pacquiao’s praise, Singson equated politics with boxing and said a good politician, like a good boxer, should have “the discipline [and] the killer instinct” and “should study and learn from your enemies.”
When Singson says “killer instinct”, he may mean just that. Even the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos wrote in his secret diary upon hearing of the assassination of Congressman Floro Crisologo – Singson’s rival – inside a Cathedral:
There goes a friend (Crisologo) whom I warned against injustice and repression about a year ago. For he and his men were held accountable for the burning of Barrio Ora in and for various killings in Ilocos Sur – whether justly or not.
What I fear is the retaliation that will follow. The wife, Carmeling Crisologo, is a courageous and hard woman who will now probably go after the faction of Chavit Singson…who is of course suspected of masterminding the killing…
(Excerpt from the Delusions of a Dictator: the Mind of Marcos as Revealed ion His Secret diaries by William C. Rempel)
Singson doesn’t seem to have turned over a new leaf insofar as using violence is concerned. Remember what his mistress Rachel “Che” Tiongson said that Singson did to her and her lover. Singson has been able to get away with siring many children out of wedlock. I don’t think Pacquiao can, because part of his image rests on the fact that he is a family man with a lovely wife by his side.
I don’t think it has sunk into Manny Pacquiao that he is the most famous living Filipino in the world right now. That he is much, much bigger than Joseph Estrada, Chavit Singson or Joselito Atienza. That it is they who need him and not the other way around. And that he has repaid them many times over for the support they gave him when he was still a rising star in boxing.
I don’t think it has really sunk into Manny Pacquiao that he now belongs to the entire Filipino nation. And that now he has the responsibility to widen his political education way beyond what Chavit Singson is capable of teaching him.
When Joseph Estrada won the vice presidency, he took it upon himself to prepare for the presidency by getting experts and academics to teach him the subjects that he had ignored in college. Manny Pacquiao can do even more with the 12 years he has to prepare for the presidency.
He says he wants to help the poor. He has 12 years to experiment and find out how. P.S. Sinsgon’s way is not THE way.