Manny Pacquiao was an absentee congressman during his two terms as representative of Sarangani province but in May 2016, voting Filipinos bequeathed him the 7th seat in the Philippine Senate. Then CongressManny (now SenaPac) spent almost all of his legislative days inside a boxing camp and due to his dubious scholastic records, we deemed him not capable as a politician.
But 16,050,546 voters elected him to senate and now gaining grounds as advocate of the restoration of death penalty and his recent unseating of Senator Leila de Lima as chair of the august body’s committee on justice and human rights investigating the supposed extra judicial killings along with the government’s fight against drugs. Seasoned politician and President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon’s attempt to quash SenaPac’s motion proved inutile. De lima, whom Pacquiao outvoted and placed last among 12 winning candidates, was unseated by her fellow newbie senator. And the hard core devotees of President Rodrigo Duterte, including those who say that the legendary boxer is unfit for membership in the senate, applauded the boxer for his guts to discontinue what her bashers describe as “Leila lies”. Those who cheer the killings of suspected drug pushers and drug dependents likewise hailed him when the SenaPac contended during the same inquiry that, “We senators are here to investigate, not to protect witness. That is the rule here!,” referring of course to de Lima.
With these powerful shots at the senate, many Filipinos who are dismayed by his previous Bible-totting and his 'gay people are worse than animals' remark became instant supporters of Manny Pacquiao, the politician. With Sen. Dick Gordon at the helm, the inquiry continues at the Senate. On the other end, Manny Pacquiao, the boxer, is with Freddie Roach at Elorde Gym inside Mall of Asia exchanging punches with his sparring mates Jose Ramirez and Leonardo Doronio.
Compared to his stint in congress before, Manny Pacquiao is slowly learning as a senator. He definitely learned a lesson or two from his lacklustre feat in the House of Representatives in the past judging from his performance at the senate committee on justice and human rights just recently. Despite of his perceived deficiency as a national legislator, he was apparently able to learn slowly. But he is yet to disclose his legislative agenda other than restoring the death penalty.
The old and familiar names and faces in the senate already disappointed us for so long so let us not hurry the SenaPac. Anyway, he’s just in the middle of the first round in an institution that already lost its longstanding character, in a country where those who oppose death penalty, including the Catholic Church, are considered coddlers of drug addicts and criminals.
Meanwhile, I expect that both the implementers and the potential victims in the on-going fight against drugs will both cheer for Manny Pacquiao in his fight against Jessie Vargas (27-1-0) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada for the WBO welterweight championship bout. There will be a decline in volume of crimes and vehicles in the streets and the dizzying hullabaloos of our leaders, the fight, regardless of the result, will surely hit the headlines next day rather than the killings and the president’s consistently inconsistent policy statements and Senator de Lima’s forum shopping in various Catholic gatherings and Eucharistic celebrations.
The next Manny Pacquiao fight for sure, as it was before, will give the divided Filipinos the political break that they fully deserve, even momentarily…
(Photo: Service Space and Time)