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Opinion

Shame on you!

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Retired boxing referee and former movie actor Carlos Padilla, Jr., was probably stricken with a much-delayed guilty conscience, has contracted Alzheimer’s or is about to die and wanted to have a clean breast of it.

Take your pick.

Padilla’s confession that he cheated Australian Nedal Hussein of his victory over Manny Pacquiao 22 years ago portrayed the Philippines as a country of cheaters.

Padilla admitted that he consented to an unnamed compatriot’s request for him to do the dirty deed: he officiated in favor of Pacquiao in a bout with the Australian pugilist at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo on Oct. 20, 2000.

“Carlos, please...this is an important fight for Manny Pacquiao because the winner will have the chance to fight for the world championship,” the 88-year-old Padilla recalled in a recent interview during his induction to the Nevada Hall of Fame.

“So, you know the opponent, Hussein, or whatever his name was. He (was) taller, younger, stronger and a dirty fighter managed by Jeff Fenech,” Padilla said.

Padilla, who refereed the “Thrilla in Manila” fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975, seemed to relish the admission of such an act.

Padilla said Pacquiao got knocked down hard in the seventh round, and that he counted longer than usual so Pacquiao could recover.

“I’m Filipino and everybody watching the fight is Filipino, so I prolonged the count, I know how to do it,” Padilla said.

He continued, “When (Manny) got up, I told him, ‘hey, are you OK,’ still prolonging the count, ‘are you OK, OK, fight!’”

Another wrongdoing that he committed, Padilla said, was in declaring an ugly gash on Hussein’s head as being caused by Pacquiao’s punch instead of a head butt. A gash caused by legal blows can result in a TKO (technical knockout) win for the fighter who dealt it.

Pacquiao ended up being declared the winner by TKO in the 10th round of that fight, after the ringside doctor deemed Hussein unfit to continue, in part because of the ugly cut.

Hussein strongly reacted to Padilla’s revelation. “It’s not the fact that he said what he said... but the way he said it with a smirk and a smile like he was proud of what he had done, like the depth of corruption, it’s obviously in his veins and his heart.”

From where I sit, the World Boxing Council should have taken back the award after Padilla’s confession. Even if the cheating happened years ago, the Filipino referee doesn’t deserve the prestigious award.

Padilla has brought dishonor to our country because of his confession.

The country may become a pariah when it comes to international boxing competitions because, rightly or wrongly, we Filipinos will be perceived as cheaters. As if the Philippines is not known for its corrupt officials.

Shame on you, Carlos Padilla!

*      *      *

With his confession, all the other boxing bouts that Padilla officiated are now called into question.

He could have favored some boxers after receiving handsome amounts of money.

After Padilla, international boxing aficionados may no longer trust another Filipino referee.

If Padilla is not suffering from Alzheimer’s, his family should have his head examined for psychosis.

*      *      *

A US-based epidemiologist says about 90 percent of the Philippine population has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Dr. John Wong, a global health researcher at the University of Washington, said: “If you look at the Philippines, we’re about 90 percent of the population infected.”

Reports say that when a person is infected with the COVID-19 Omicron variant, he gets immunity from the disease. Early this year, most Filipinos were infected with the Omicron variant, and that could result in the Philippine population acquiring herd immunity.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota says that for a country’s population to reach herd immunity, a certain percentage of the population should become immune. The more infectious the disease, the higher the percentage has to be. Measles, for example, requires that 94 percent of the population should be immune.

Wong said COVID-19 will become endemic should hospitalizations and deaths fall within “acceptable limits.”

The doctor did not say what the “acceptable limits” are.

Data show that from Nov.15 to 21, only 83 died while 7,502 were infected with COVID-19. The fatality rate is about 1.1 percent of the total number of infected cases.

From my point of view, those who died were probably unvaccinated or had comorbidities like heart problems, diabetes and obesity.

In short, COVID-19 has practically become endemic, like the ordinary flu.

In most European countries, people no longer wear masks.

A friend of mine who came from Singapore on vacation said that European tourists there did not wear face masks even indoors. Only Asian tourists and locals wore masks in public.

*      *      *

For all his inanity, Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa talked sense when he placed female students on equal footing with their male counterparts in the about-to-be-revived Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.

Before it was scrapped years ago, the ROTC program was mandatory for male college students. It was optional for female students, and they trained separately from the males.

“You want gender equality, you don’t want to be considered as the weaker sex,” Dela Rosa said in response to a question on why male and female ROTC cadets should be mixed.

The former Philippine National Police chief told women, “If the enemy attacks us, not only men will be hit by bullets, but also women.”

President Fidel V. Ramos, a West Point graduate, planned the scrapping of the ROTC program, but it was abolished during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s watch after the death of a University of the Sto. Tomas student who exposed the anomalies of the ROTC program on his campus.

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