NEWS ANALYSIS: How can Pacquiao Both Serve as Boxer and Congressman?

ARLINGTON, Texas (MindaNews/14 November) – Manny Pacquiao is bringing home to the Philippines his eighth world boxing title, the WBC super welterweight championship. He said he will continue fighting in the boxing ring. A few days later, he will be reporting in Congress to resume serving as House Representative of the lone district of Sarangani. Can he really do justice to both?

With a mindset strong enough to set up concrete accountability structures to ensure responsibilities of his two tasks are done, and acceptably well, he might just be able to pull it off.

Take the case of boxing. He appears to have proven he can accomplish and still withstand the physical rigors of training while at the same navigate the murky waters of politics.

His latest fight with Antonio Margarito had him shuttling between Congress and a gym in Manila, then to training camp in Baguio City, with the last three weeks set aside for final tune-up climaxing on fight night.

His training regimen for the Margarito fight could even be used as a benchmark, considering he trained extra hard due to his opponent’s height, weight and reach advantage.

From Pacquiao himself, down to his coach, Freddie Roach and boxing promoter, Bob Arum, all believe the lowly man from General Santos City can still sail the high seas of boxing and demolish every warrior opponent. All agreed he can even do two fights a year for five years.

But what about Pacquiao as a congressman, his being the representative of the lone district of Sarangani?

His biggest advantage, many would agree, is that Congressman Pacquiao is not a Recto, Diokno, or a Salonga. Hence, he is not obliged, nor would any be expecting him, to engage his colleagues in debates and interpellations, much more author or nurture into passage legislations of national or international importance.

His recent pronouncements during an interview with the international media three days before the fight showed the simplicity of his approach in serving as a congressman.

Similar to many of his colleagues in the Lower House, Pacquiao wants to focus on providing livelihood projects and medical assistance to his constituents, particularly the poor of Sarangani.

Sports, owing to his being a world-class sportsman, is expected to be given a major shot in the arm, particularly in terms of grassroots programs and fund allocations in the national budget pie.

He did mention, however, his advocacy against human trafficking. But it is largely an implant by some of his US advisers, to provide him a platform of international importance.

Livelihood and infrastructure programs may turn out to be his most concrete accomplishments in his three-year term as a congressman. He may even turn out to be a much better performer in this “legislative work”, compared even to his more seasoned colleagues.

Coupled with his lavish and unending dole outs of money and goods, not to mention the regular feasts on birthdays, fiestas, and other occasions that attract hundreds to thousands of his constituency, Pacquiao may have to decide this early whether he’ll want to serve his three-term (nine years) limit as congressman, or gun for the Senate of the Philippines after a single term.

The cover story of American Air Line’s American Way quoted Top Rank’s Bob Arum as believing Pacquiao can run and even become president of the Philippines at the age of 40.

His three-year stint as a congressman and his final showdown with the elusive Floyd Mayweather can be crucial to Pacquiao’s road to more glory, both as a boxer and a public servant in a span of five years.  (Merpu Roa/MindaNews)