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Men of second chances

The boxing championship honor of our so-called “Pambansang Kamao,” Sarangani Congressman Manny Pacquiao, has been redeemed. The honor was robbed from him by two of the three judges who gave the split decision in favor of his challenger Timothy Bradley. The five-man review committee by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) unanimously ruled Wednesday that Pacquiao should have won his controversial match with Bradley.

Just ten days ago, Pacquiao gallantly accepted a very questionable split decision victory in favor of his challenger in the controversial boxing match held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last June 9. But his fans here and even all over the US could not accept the judges’ decision from what they saw and believed in their hearts and minds that Pacquiao definitely won over Bradley.

Amid the steam and furor it stirred, the WBO reviewed the match and all five judges scored the fight in favor of Pacquiao. Though the WBO review does not have power to overturn the Bradley win, they recommended a rematch between the two boxers. 

A rematch is already part of the clause that both Pacquiao and Bradley signed in their boxing match contract — which either party could invoke or exercise. Pacquiao is no stranger to boxing rematch. In fact, he emerged victorious in most of the rematches he had in the past. Through the years Pacquiao had his share of second chances and emerged a better man each time.

Like Pacquiao, the country’s most venerable comedian Dolphy is also fighting — but in a different arena — for his dear life in a hospital bed. Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr., more popularly known as Dolphy, is battling with complications of his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the intensive care unit of the Makati Medical Center. 

Dolphy’s going through this yet another health crisis has stirred anew calls and demands from several quarters for President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to confer the National Artist honor to the award-winning comedian.     

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The title of National Artist of the Philippines (Pambansang Alagad ng Sining ng Pilipinas) is the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development in the various fields of arts in the country. The President confers the National Artist Award based on recommendation of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

P-Noy critics accused him of sitting on the proposed conferment of National Artist to Dolphy because the latter campaigned for his rival Sen. Manny Villar during the May 2010 presidential elections. In fairness to President Aquino, he had already conferred to Dolphy in November 2010 the Grand Collar (Maringal na Kuwintas) of the Order of the Golden Heart in recognition of his achievements in show business and philanthropy.    

The Order of the Golden Heart was established in 1954 by the late President Ramon Magsaysay to recognize those who had rendered distinguished service or material aid to improve the condition of the masses. The last one to receive this award was Helen Keller on May 20, 1955. 

During the birthday reception of former President Joseph Estrada in April this year, I got to ask P-Noy about this proposed National Artist award to Dolphy who was seriously ill at that time. The President cited he could not act on it because of the still unresolved Supreme Court (SC) resolution issued in August 2009. It stopped then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from conferring the rank and title of National Artist on seven personalities, including movie director Carlo Caparas and then NCCA head Cecille Guidote Alvarez. In lieu of that, P-Noy explained, he gave Dolphy instead a much higher state honor that only the comedian and Keller are the recipients so far. 

Given the worsening medical condition of Dolphy, his immediate family has agreed to issue instruction “Do Not Resuscitate” in case of yet another episode of heart failure, one of the many complications of COPD. One of his sons, movie actor/director Eric Quizon told media his father has been in and out of hospital these past months due to his recurring battle with pneumonia. And each time, Eric cited, his father had been able to fully recover. Through God’s grace, Dolphy has had more than second chances in life.

Another man of second chance is Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson whom P-Noy recently revealed he would recruit to join his Cabinet along with Senator Kiko Pangilinan. The two Senators are both on their second and last term ending in June next year. Although the President mentioned his plans for the two outgoing senators, there was no specific mention of particular Cabinet posts being eyed for them.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Manuel Roxas II broke his silence on talks going the rounds of rumor mills of his supposed attempts to block Lacson’s appointment in the Aquino Cabinet. It was the best that Roxas could do for now amid obvious attempts against Lacson’s gaining a foothold at the Palace. Unnamed quarters in the ranks of the Liberal Party (LP) are supposedly behind it. By the way, Roxas is LP president.

In fairness to both, Lacson and Roxas were known to be close and supportive of each other during their Senate days together. If there’s any power bloc trying to prevent Lacson’s joining P-Noy’s Cabinet, it would likely be those who would be insecure in their stature in the Aquino administration.

At this stage, Lacson’s much ballyhooed assumption as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is still in the realm of speculation.

This naturally would mean the replacement of LP stalwart, incumbent DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo. Lacson’s purported appointment as DILG Secretary stemmed from the fact he once headed the Philippine National Police (PNP), an attached agency of the DILG.

During Lacson’s stint as PNP chief during the shortened Estrada administration, he was credited for having raised the public trust and approval rating of the country’s police agency for its successful campaign against organized crime while at the same time weeding out corrupt policemen. Perhaps Lacson could do it again if given a second chance.

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