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What now, Pacquiao, quo vadis Bongbong?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 15, 2021 - 12:00am

The problem with a multi-titled world boxing champion, doubling as politician on the side, is perhaps falsely assuming that running for president of the Philippines is as simple as knocking out a Juan Miguel Marquez, or a Chris Algieri or Adrien Broner. And the problem with a son (or for that matter, a daughter too) of a former president is perhaps assuming too that they are as good as their father. Non sequitur, it does not follow. Over-assuming can be their waterloo.

Now that the rumor is getting truer and more real each day, that Inday Sara had signed a blood compact with Gibo Teodoro, (if you can believe this great influence peddler, Rolando Andaya, or Congressman Joey Salceda, both Bicolanos having no love lost with comrade Bicolanas, VP Leni Robredo and Leila de Lima, or even Antonio Trillanes IV), then the fates of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos have been sealed. They should kiss their ambitions goodbye. A Sara-Gibo tandem is as impregnable as an alliance between Washington's Joe Biden and Moscow's Putin. Tell me, can a Bongbong-Pacman team-up (if that is possible) beat the alliance of Sara and Gibo? I am not saying they are the best. I'm only assessing that they are the most difficult tandem to beat.

Both Gibo and Sara have the support of GMA, and no matter how much you hate Arroyo’s guts, she still has a strong following in Central Luzon, a vote-rich new center of urban development, and many nooks and cranny in the whole country. Her Lakas commands many partisans among incumbent members of the House. With vote-heavy Pampanga, Tarlac, and Pangasinan, along with Bulacan going for this team, then Luzon will go for Sara-Gibo. The next presidential polls will turn out to be a reenactment of 2016. There will be four or five serious candidates and a squad of crazy perennial reincarnations of Pascual Racuyal. Having multiple candidates is good news for Sara and Gibo. Grace Poe, Ping Lacson, Alan Cayetano, Isko Moreno, Pacman, or Bongbong? Let them all run, and the more they are, the better for Sara-Gibo.

VisMin will be, more or less, solid. Metro Manila will be divided, depending on whom 1Sambayan will anoint. But, with due respect, this ragtag group of recycled retirees have the wings of their dreams, but, sorry, guys, let's call a spade a spade; they do not have the roots and trunk of logistics and organization. They will end up shattered like the late Miriam Defensor Santiago, broken-hearted and filled with resentment and venom. In the dog-eat-dog world of Philippine politics, the virgins and the angels will be eaten alive by the vultures and predators of dirty politics. That is why the hard-working Gibo was beaten by his less-qualified cousin, a former congressman who did nothing monumental in the House. A Bar topnotcher beaten by a man of lesser caliber. That is how the cookie crumbles. In politics, the better man is often beaten by the one with more money and a stronger organization.

If I were Manny Pacquiao, I would focus on becoming a pastor and share the good news of true salvation. Politics and the Bible cannot mix. You cannot serve the Lord and mamon altogether. If I were Bongbong, I should start admitting that if I can't even beat Leny as vice president, how can he beat Sara as president? His father was ousted by a widow, and he was beaten by a widow too. But that is all that he can duplicate of his father's achievements. Apo Lakay Ferdinand Sr. was a Bar topnotcher who got standing ovations in the joint sessions of both the US Congress and the UN General Assembly, for speaking extemporaneously, memorizing the US constitution and the Gettysburg Address. What is Bongbong's accomplishment, to give him the guts to aim at filling the footsteps of his great dad? Nothing. Let's stop kidding ourselves. Filipinos may be crazy or silly. But we are not stupid.

Yes, in 2022, many hopefuls will end up hopeless again. The winners will beat them all, and the losers shall eat the dust again. And mind you, the winners will not be the best qualified. He or she who spends the most and has the strongest organization shall prevail. The greatest loser will be the country and the people again. Then, we shall be looking forward to 2028, for hopes never die. It springs eternal in the human breast. And the cycle never ends.

MANNY PACQUIAO
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