“Too trusting, too accommodating and too shy to say no,” as Jeng said in a recent press conference that was more of a damage control than an act of brinksmanship to describe the disastrous legal entanglement that his client would have to face as a consequence.
That imbroglio over the right to air Manny’s bout with Briton Ricky Hatton on local television was not the first time the Filipino boxing sensation was sweet-talked into signing a deal at the expense of one’s other live contract.
Remember the bag full of crisp 20-dollar bills that was shoved by Oscar de la Hoya into Manny’s lap while he was being fetched at the airport in Los Angeles?
It was signed right under the nose of Gacal as he himself admitted.
Even if he was not in Los Angeles when Manny decided to switch horses in midstream, Jeng should be man enough to admit that Manny’s ambitious plan to gatecrash into the dirty world of politics was the primary reason behind the controversy.
Having suffered a humiliating defeat in his first foray into politics, Manny could not bear to resign himself as a loser despite his newfound wealth and ever-growing popularity. He wants to get his revenge in a hurry.
Hell, he might even sign a pact with the devil to achieve that goal.
And if we are to believe that ABS-CBN offered Pacquiao media mileage in exchange for switching channels, as Jeng again reiterated in the press conference, then there lurks even greater danger once Manny gets his wishes in politics.
The trouble with Manny is that he has surrounded himself with sycophants and freeloaders who feed into his ambitions.
Let us admit it, except for some well-meaning friends who have been with him since he started as a stowaway kid looking to earn a living by busting his beak and breadbasket and the other in front of him, these latent ‘friends’ – if you can call them that – are no less than the servants and lords of the emperor who want him to believe that a seamstress has tailored a new stately dress which he now can parade around even if it meant him walking naked along the alleys and byways of his kingdom.
It took an innocent girl to shout that the king was wearing no clothes at all for the emperor to realize that he had been had by his minions.
Look, for every dollar Manny makes, how much of them goes to the purses and pockets of freeloaders who are riding on Manny’s immense popularity to get themselves elected too as an old Manny friend did during the 2007 elections?
Don’t they realize that they have become political and economic baggage for Manny who has created more enemies precisely because of the company that he keeps?
Suppose tomorrow Manny decides to leave politics and quit his ambition to become an elected official? Will these hangers-on continue to wipe him with hot towel when Manny has one drink too many? Or tail him to the rest room to cordon off imagined mendicants and ill-intentioned admirers?
To Manny we say this, every man has his own time and every time has its own man.
Politics is a matter of perception and his recent turnaround and then back for political expediency has made his road to political success more difficult.
Manny may overcome odds inside the boxing ring as he always did in the past but he may not be up to the task in the political arena. (Edwin G. Es
pejo is former editor of SunStar GenSan.)