GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 May) — Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao was reported to have presided over a meeting with his political allies recently.
It was a crucial meeting where he reportedly drew the line and put an end to all speculations, maneuverings and machinations inside his ‘growingly’ monolithic political party.
A year ago, Pacquiao likewise presided over a meeting among all mayors of Sarangani allied with him to announce his decision to run for governor and trade places with Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez who is on his third and last term. Many tried to downplay the inevitable union with his erstwhile political rival. In fact, until the latest meeting where Pacquiao finally put down his feet, not a few of his supporters and political advisers were still in the 2010 mode.
But Pacquiao was reported to have told doubters enough is enough.
Pardon me for the quote but he was reported to have said: “Kung uban, ta uban ta. Kung dili mo uyon, magbulag na ta karon (If we are together, we are together. If you disagree, let’s go separate ways now).” Or something to that effect.
Pacquiao was of course referring to his political union with Dominguez.
Last week, Pacquiao was seen conferring with Dominguez and all the mayors of Sarangani in Baguio City further ending all talks about a failed unity between the two influential leaders in the province.
Pacquiao and Dominguez fielded different slates during the 2010 elections, which was said to be the most expensive campaign in the history of local politics. Although Pacquiao handily won over Roy Chiongbian, a longtime family ally of the Dominguezes and the Alcantaras, he was forced to fork out close to half a billion pesos (US$10 million) in the run-up month and to the election. Counting expenses in preparation for his second run for a congressional seat, he is said to have spent close to P700 million, in total.
The Chiongbian-Dominguez camp itself was reported to have also spent at least P120 million.
From the economic and financial points, a Pacquiao-Dominguez tandem makes every sense. It saves both camps money. With boxing retirement on the horizon, Manny cannot afford to again gamble his well-earned riches for a public office which pay cannot even cover for the monthly upkeep of his two mansions in General Santos City.
Besides, Manny’s favorite brother Roel is eyeing the congressional seat for the first district of nearby South-Cotabato-General Santos City. He needs to bankroll the candidacy of Roel as well as support his friend Ronel Rivera who is running for mayor in the city against Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio. Or presumably against Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr if the latter is prevailed upon by Antonino patriarch Adelbert to return to his former position.
Two costly electoral contests in two different fronts for Pacquiao will be asking too much from his resources.
With Manny setting his sights for a Senate run in 2016, he needs to save whatever resources he has and is going to earn in the next two years, indeed.
Another factor that may have weighed heavily on Pacquiao’s insistence of honoring an earlier political pact with Dominguez is his soured relations with Malacañang. Pacquiao is no longer the poster boy of the presidential palace like he was during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In fact, his closeness with Arroyo is probably the reason why President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino II has not warmed up with him.
Without Malacañang’s support, Pacquiao is a lost kid in the House of Representatives. Another three years of being a wall flower at a dance party will not advance his cause for a Senate seat.
With all the above-cited factors considered, I always believe Pacquiao is more cut for any elected executive post where his connect with the masses will reinforce his heart for the poor. Where he might lack the eloquence and articulateness in congressional debates, we will have plenty of compassion with people, who like him, knows poverty like there is no wealth and abundance in their vocabulary.
Only the insipid will insist Pacquiao goes off the political kill in Sarangani by abandoning his commitment to forge an alliance with Dominguez. And there are still many around him. Pacman knows as his signature T-shirt says. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Edwin Espejo writes for the asian.correspondent.com)