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Opinion

Pacquiao for Congress? Perhaps…

STRAWS IN THE WIND - STRAWS IN THE WIND By Eladio Dioko -
As an elector I have never voted for celebrity candidates, movie idols or sports heroes, who ran for local or national posts. Some of them might have been well meaning and were imbued with the desire to serve. Some of them might have had a solid mass between the ears. But my prejudice against this kind of candidates is deep-seated and so without exception it''s thumbs down for them at election day.

But there''s always an exception. It''s human to accept exceptions, you see, because the mind simply can''t clam up and stay closed come what may. Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, says Emerson. Indeed, if one insists on a point of view (except perhaps on the question of moral) and stick to it despite the assaults of contrary reasons his is not only a little mind but a stupid mind as well.

These statements frame the premise of my soft reaction to Manny Pacquiao''s candidacy. "If I were in the district which Pacman wants to represent in Congress, I would vote for him," I exclaimed after the people''s champion sent his Mexican challenger to the canvas recently, "Whaaat! Pacquiao in Congress? He''ll be like a square peg there!" This came from daughter Maria Suga, a pediatrician.

I was not surprised by such reaction. My acquaintances have voiced the same sentiment. Most media wordsmiths have expressed a similar feeling. In fact, it is said that almost ninety percent of Gensan folks are against Pacman''s political fling.

Yet I say Pacquiao deserves to be a Congressman. After putting this country on the map through his ring generalship, after drawing together his countrymen in a concord of oneness as they thrilled to his first-cuff escapade, and more important, after making Filipinos proud of being Filipinos - not just once but twice, thrice and perhaps more - who can say the people''s champion does not deserve a reward?

Some say his millions are enough reward. His mansion too and fame - are these not enough? Those who say so do not understand the Filipino. A Filipino may have pocketed all the wealth of his dream. He may have gained renown and become something of a national hero. But without prestige all these are nothing.

In our culture prestige (and power?) happens to be pegged with high public offices, particularly those of congressmen or senators. Is it surprising if Pacquiao thirsts for these posts? Suspicions however have been articulated that Malacañang is behind the boxer''s decision to seek a legislative seat. Yet even if this has basis the fact remains that there is something mesmerizing in being addressed as the "Honorable Gentleman from…"

Most probably, Pacquiao would be a blinking halfwit in Congress. He may just be warming his seat and listen and just listen… Committee of silence, they call the fence-sitters in that House. But don''t we have many of these? Look at those who sit blank-eyed in the House and in the Senate while crucial issues are debated on. And yet these people have not done anything as spectacular as Pacquiao''s ring successes.

Sure, the Pacman has some weaknesses, including perhaps on handling of funds. But having hundreds of millions in his bank account, he is likely to be a lesser buaya that some of his future colleagues. Many of these trapos gained their seats through the might of the peso. It follows that their tenure in that body carries with it the game plan of fattening more their checkbooks to recover what they spent and to keep their seats intact. Pacquiao, however, won''t have to buy his way to Congress. A mere sight of him would send voters into a frenzy of adulation. A demigod in a boxer''s flesh - that''s what he is to those Gensan folks.

There''s something too about Pacquiao''s lack of a sheepskin that could work on his behalf. Books may sharpen one''s mind, but these could also pollute it and rob it of its innate capacity to see clearly through an issue. Swamped with borrowed ideas, it could be stifled from coming out with a fresh and innovative approach to a problem. History bears witness to individuals without formal training who did great things for society. This is not to say that Pacquiao is likely to do something great or something worth noticing in Congress. But his state is better than being a brilliant but one-track minded obstructionist like some incumbent Congress personalities.

Gain a congressman and lose a champion? Perhaps it''s about time for Pacquiao to hang up his gloves. He has proven his prowess. He has thrilled a nation. Let''s leave him to what he wants to do next. This is the least we can do in gratitude to the people''s champion.
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Email: [email protected]

A FILIPINO

GENSAN

HONORABLE GENTLEMAN

IF I

MARIA SUGA

PACMAN

PACQUIAO

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