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Opinion

Are Pacquiao's wealth and popularity enough to make him president?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

We cannot simply judge a man, vis-a-vis the presidency, based only on his educational attainment, or intellectual brilliance, or academic credentials, or based on his popularity. We've had a brilliant Bar topnotcher in Ferdinand Marcos, and look what happened. We've had a doctor in Economics and an Ateneo professor in GMA and you know what she did. As to the sheer popularity, we tried Erap and we all witnessed how he bungled it. Now, let us look at Manny Pacquaio.

Manny's story is one for the books, rising from being a vendor and construction worker to world boxing champion 12 times in eight major categories. He is also a former congressman, and incumbent senator, party president (although allegedly ousted), and the owner of many mansions, some of which are in the US. He also has yachts, private planes, and a number of luxury cars. And he has an estimated wealth of no less than $5 billion. His story inspires a lot of poor Filipinos. His struggles give hope to many young athletes like Hidilyn Diaz, who garnered the first gold medal for the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics. His saga moves many poor aspiring Filipinos to persevere and hitch their own wagons to the stars. But are these enough to make Manny our next president?

I dare say that the heart of Manny is better than the heart of Erap whose record of achievements was only to make many women happy, both in reel and in real life, and giving birth to a lot of children from multiple mothers. I also dare say that the conscience of Manny is much purer than those of Marcos and GMA because the name of Pacquiao has never been linked to any controversy. Manny has never been charged with any shenanigan or anomalies. In terms of wealth, Pacman may not be richer than Bongbong Marcos but definitely, he is now wealthier than both GMA and Erap. No other senator today, except Cynthia Villar, can give Manny a good run for his money. Even if the wealth of the other 22 senators are combined, they cannot match the money of Pacquaio and Villar combined.

Manny owns a mansion on Beverly Hills acquired at the cost of $12.5 million, and another Spanish style mansion. He owns the White House mansion and the Lagao mansion in Gensan, and a Sarangani beach house with 14 bedrooms. But his most luxurious mansion is in Forbes Park in Makati, now reportedly worth P1 billion. He has another luxurious mansion in Dasmariñas Village in Makati, and a mansion in Laguna, near the Brent International School, built precisely for his two sons who studied there at about half a million pesos per semester. Manny also owns the Boracay West Cove luxury mansion, and many other smaller houses. Manny also built houses for his mother, father, and siblings, as well as for the family of his wife, Jinkee.

Manny bought a private plane (cost unknown), a chopper costing $427,000, another chopper worth $500,000, a yacht worth $600,000, a Ferrari 458 Italia worth $220,000, a Lincoln Navigator, a Mercedes SL550, a Pajero, a Hyundai Sta. Fe, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, a Cadillac Escalade, a Hummer H2, a Ford Expedition, and an M2 Cyclone 1200cc Motorcycle, and many other vehicles.

Manny won 12 world boxing championships in eight divisions. All these, however, with due respect, are far from enough to make him ready for the presidency. He needs more preparation. He can be president someday. But he needs to learn more.

As they say in Luzon, “marami pa siyang kakaining bigas.” Anyway, he is still 42 and has a long way to go. If he is a good fighter, he should accept that or forever regret moving in prematurely. Timing is almost everything.

FERDINAND MARCOS
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