COMMENT: Madness on the Rise!

MindaNews reported on January 17 that Gov. Manny Piñol, now completing his three-term limit, had decided to seek election for the vice governor of North Cotabato instead of running for congressman of the first district as he had earlier announced.

 

Why humble himself as the running mate of his vice governor, Jesus Sacdalan? Why not run for congress from where, should he win, he can help the province more especially if Sacdalan wins? But the messianic in him changed his mind.

 

“I cannot sacrifice the welfare of my people in my province. It is in this light that I have decided to run for vice governor,” he declared in his weekly program, “Pareng Gob” over radio DXND. Bet, should he win, the program will be renamed “Pareng Vice Gob”.

 

He added, to quote MindaNews, that being the vice governor “is ‘the only way’ to ensure that the programs he started that lifted North Cotabato from being one of the poorest provinces to becoming one of the 30 most progressive provinces in the country would be continued”.

 

And more: He “fears that his successor might discredit the programs … even if these are effective and start a new set of programs all over again. He said this could stunt the development” of North Cotabato.

 

Piñol’s declarations are revelation.

 

First, to him, he is indispensable to the province and people of Cotabato. His programs are the best — their salvation and eternal progress. Unless continued, their future is uncertain. So he has to stay, even just as vice governor, to watch over these programs.

 

This messianic complex is not Piñol’s alone. This is true to many elected leaders, a driving force in their quest for perpetuity in power. But this is madness just the same.

 

Second, Piñol is sure of winning the vice governorship and of Sacdalan winning the governorship. That’s how sure he is that the people of North Cotabato so idolize him and his vice governor that they will entrust their future to nobody else.

 

But what if he loses even if Sacdalan wins? What if he wins and Sacdalan loses. But I think, in his madness, Piñol does not dwell on these possibilities. Should the latter happen, it’s madness to think that the new governor will be beholden to him.

 

Third, Piñol is sure that should he and Sacdalan win, the latter will continue his programs before introducing his own, perhaps, with Piñol’s imprimatur. Piñol is so sure that Sacdalan will continue sitting in his shadow.

 

Or, are Piñol’s declarations the conditions for his support of Sacdalan without which the latter will not be elected? Or, a warning that should Sacdalan not follow Piñol’s programs, Piñol will again run for governor in 2010 to depose him?

 

Does Piñol realize that his declarations are a formula of destabilization should he and Sacdalan win the May election? He should look into the history of many political alliances that have turned into bitter rivalries. As governor, Sacdalan will surely want to leave a legacy of his own. It’s madness to think that he will not.

 

***

 

MindaNews, on January 24, featured another Manny being drawn into the gathering election madness. Boxing idol Manny Pacquiao, of this city, is being prodded to run for mayor or for congressman of the first district of South Cotabato by the administration party, Lakas-MCD. He is the hope of the party to wrest political control of city hall or of the district from the Antonino-Acharon combine.

 

Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr., Pacquiao’s No. 1 fan, said he welcomes Manny’s entry into the political ring against him. Anyway, politics is not boxing but governance. The mayor’s statement is wisdom for Pacquiao and the Lakas city hierarchy to ponder upon seriously.

 

Is Pacquaio qualified to run either for city mayor or for congressman? Basicallly, yes. He is a registered voter and a citizen of good standing.

 

Is he highly or competently qualified? If winning multi-million dollar boxing matches in the United States; if earning millions of pesos for promoting commercial products; if doing a movie on his own feats – all these are preparation for the mayorship and congress, then he is so qualified.

 

When Pacquaio said that he was seriously considering his options, he confessed that he does not know what it takes to be a mayor or a congressman. He should ask the Lakas-MCD city bigwigs what they are pushing him for.

 

These bigwigs admitted that former Mayor Rosalita Nunez would be the most qualified candidate for mayor but her family doubt their capacity to raise the money needed to match the Acharon camp’s. Meaning, the party is tapping Pacquaio’s millions.

 

Of course, Pacquiao is very popular. The party thinks that his popularity and millions can catapult him to either city hall or congress. That’s the first, if not their only, concern – to recapture political leadership. Pacquiao’s incompetence is to their advantage as they can control and direct him according to their thinking and interests.

 

Does Pacquaio realize that should he win either the General Santos City mayorship or the first congressional seat of South Cotabato, he has to abandon his boxing profession? Is he ready to do that? Have his backers told him that?

 

Even in their madness Pacquiao’s backers should have the honesty to see the incompatibility of the boxing profession with governance or congressional representation. Should Pacquaio win either post and does not give up his boxing profession, how could he keep both when each needs full time and year-round dedication?

 

As a boxer Pacquiao has the physical and mental toughness. But his success is not due to that alone but largely to good coaching and training. And in the ring his coach and trainers are with him giving him instructions after every round.

 

Governance is different. Coaches and trainers are out of place. The biggest and most recent example was then President Joseph Estrada. His 32 or more expert “coaches” failed to make him govern correctly.

 

Pacquaio and his backers should not take for granted the people who hail him as their boxing hero. They should not think that the people cannot distinguish between boxing and governance.

 

(“Comment” is Mr. Patricio P. Diaz' column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Mr. Diaz is the recipient of a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Titus Brandsma for his "commitment to education and public information to Mindanawons as Journalist, Educator and Peace Advocate." You may e-mail your comments to patpdiazgsc@yahoo.com.)