SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: A toast to change

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/16 April) – The past few months have seen boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao strutting himself around as a changed man. Tucking a Bible and quoting from it whenever it suits him, Pacquiao avers to having shed off his vices – drinking, gambling and, God knows what else.

Many were about to believe he is sincere in his intentions. Until he endorsed a popular, expensive brand of cognac.

The liquor ad, uploaded last week on Youtube, showed Pacquiao’s rise from being an ordinary country lad to a world boxing champion. It ended with the quote ”Fighting the fights that really matter. That’s my ‘Wild Rabbit.’ – Congressman Manny Pacquiao.”

For some, the endorsement can be dismissed as just a moneymaking venture, one that does not necessarily reveal Pacquiao’s character as a supposedly changed man. Trabaho lang, walang personalan, (It’s just a job, nothing personal) so they say.

They could be right. After all, we did know that those models who figured in cigarette ads of yore did not actually smoke in real life.

But that’s exactly where the question lies: Is it all right for one to say he has dropped a certain vice and endorse it at the same time? On the part of Pacquiao, is it all right for him to say he has stopped drinking and encourage it at the same time by endorsing a liquor brand?

The issue is no longer whether the boxing champ still drinks or not but the lack of consistency between his word and action. Endorsing a liquor brand is as good as enticing people into drinking regardless of what we think about Pacquiao’s behavior in real life. For advertisement is essentially an attempt to make the consumers identify themselves with the endorser, normally a person with celebrity status.

This isn’t the first time that Pacquiao showed inconsistency between his word and action. Remember his avowed opposition to the adoption of artificial family planning methods and his wife Jinkee’s admission that they have been using contraceptives?

I can’t exactly remember if Pacquiao said he didn’t know Jinkee was using contraceptives without his knowledge. If that’s what he said, it’s like hearing another politician say he was the beneficiary of electoral sabotage but did not know about the plan to rig the vote. That’s simply crap.

Pacquiao and that politician are in the same boat now. I just don’t know if the vessel is big enough for their bloated egos.

But if Pacquiao has really changed for the better, let’s drink to that. By the way, I prefer brandy. And fill the glass to the rim. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno writes mainly on the environment, human rights and politics. He can be reached at [email protected])

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