GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 Nov) – Former Sen. Rene Saguisag wrote an opinion article (Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 21, 2011: Pacquiao, not De Lima, should resign) that deglamorized eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. How many in General Santos City and Sarangani Province where Pacquiao is hoisted – not foisted – nay, worshipped as a demigod, have read the article? How did they take it?
In sequence, Saguisag (1) reasoned why Justice Secretary Leila de Lima should not be disbarred; (2) related that on that Sunday of the last Pacquiao fight, he was in a socials with “at least 200 guests … not watching the fight” – implying, “the only” ones free of Pacquiao mania; (3) commented on boxing as the “manly art of modified murder”; then, (4) fired a broadside at Pacquiao.
For those who care, the broadside in full:
“Many are so blinded by Manny Pacquiao’s billions that we tolerate a “non-performing liability” (NPL) in the House, an institution now being disgraced by one who trivializes chamber work as only a sideline or a hobby, who gambles and loses millions of dollars in casinos, womanizes, hosts a TV show (“Manny Many Prizes”), threatens to sue because of canceled singing concerts, humors his mother in an ostentatious birthday fiesta with a Hermes bag and imported DIs at a time of great want for many. Some were surprised he did not do better last Sunday.
“But, he lacked focus in preparing against a helluva fighter. He should resign as absentee congressman to do better as a modified murderer.” (Bold supplied)
His biting words aside, Saguisag is confronting Pacquiao as well as his advisers with (1) an ethical option: Resign as absentee congressman and concentrate in boxing; and (2) questioning Pacquiao as a “role model of the Filipino youth” that then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo foisted on adoring Filipinos.
Saguisag clarifies that the issue then is about resignation. If Pacquiao does not resign, the House is helpless. By his own question, “Should he not be expelled from the House of the Salongas, Sumulongs, Roxases, Osmeñas, Villareals, Pelaezes and Lims?” Saguisag twits the House for that helplessness.
Sarcastic, he quips: “The expulsion issue is moot of course. You don’t cross billionaires. You are rich; you are respectable; money brings prestige and power. Pacquiao will remain in the House where his colleagues will not see an NPL as a disgrace to it. … He may even run for president in 2022.”
Sarcasm hurts; its truth uncontestable: “Pacquiao will remain in the House …” Yet, better bear the hurt; resist the truth – the ironic but predictable option.
Is Pacquiao truly an absentee congressman? During the many months he trained for his fights – two fights since his election – he was absent. With pride and dollars as the compelling motivation, there will be a return bout with Marquez. His promoter and trainer will get him new fights – with Floyd Merriweather, et al., while Pacquiao is good for millions of dollars. Off the ring, his other engagements will explain his absence.
His colleagues will not make him resign, not expel him. He is their excuse, their pass to hold session in the U.S. every time Pacquiao has a fight. Besides, if has to be expelled or forced to resign for being an “NPL”, the House may become half-empty. For different circumstances, the House is half-full of “NPLs”.
His political and business advisers will not let him – their source of bread and prestige – resign. What does Pacquiao really know about intricate legislative work? His chief of staff or someone else who cannot win a seat in Congress must be doing the proxy work for Pacquiao.
Don’t get us wrong. We are not supporting Saguisag. We’re only challenging Pacquiao’s political team to prove Saguisag wrong – his sarcasm full of malice, devoid of truth.
How can the obvious be disproven? Explain why he is not in reality an absentee congressman. Prove with official records, he is not an NPL. Show what he has done for his constituents since his election.
The challenge may be difficult but the task is compelling. His performance in Congress will be vital to his political timetable: win the governorship of Sarangani in 2013; win a Senate seat or the vice presidency in 2016; and contest the presidency in 2022 – as reported in the US by channelnewsasia.com and picked up by a sports blog before the last Pacquiao-Marquez fight. The same was dispatched by Agence France Presse and published by Philippine Daily Inquirer in its November 11,2011 issue. (Patricio P. Diaz, General Santos City. firstname.lastname@example.org)