Nov. 19, 2010

caballero.photo

By MANUEL L. CABALLERO

IT’S been a week since the tremendous win of Manny Pacquiao over his Mexican opponent Antonio Margarito. Filipinos all over the globe are still talking about the Pinoy boxing champion with pride and jubilation.

Talks of Rep. Manny Pacquiao running for president of the Philippines has started after the extraordinary boxing champ mentioned in a cable U.S. television interview before his fight last week that he may want to serve his country as president in the future. Even Filipino senators have joined the conversation.

Pacquiao’s American promoter and dear friend, Bob Arum, consciously or unconsciously, revealed in a separate television interview that he and Manny have a 10-year plan that involves continued boxing and public service “to be culminated by presidency of his country.”

I will interpret the revelation as a plan that will raise campaign funds (through boxing) while waiting for Pacquiao to reach age 40, the constitutional requirement for presidential candidates in the native country.

Philippine President Manny Pacquiao? Well, in politics, anything is possible, especially if the candidate is popular. Filipinos have elected a popular actor once as president (Joseph Estrada). And they virtually elected another (Fernando Poe, Jr.). Another popular actor, the late Sen. Rogelio de la Rosa ran for president in 1960, but withdrew one day before Election Day for unknown reasons.

In the past, Filipinos elected to the Senate popular entertainers/actors (Eddie Ilarde, Ramon Revilla, Sr., Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid). Similarly, people from the entertainment industry had been elected to the House of Representatives and other local offices.

Aside from being a popular boxer, what are Manny Pacquiao’s qualities that could make Filipinos elect him to the presidency? To us, those qualities are his passion for public service and compassion for the poor, his self-discipline and perseverance (demonstrated during trainings before his fights), his life story (from rags to riches through hard work), his passion for education and personal development (he attends learning seminars and home school for college degree). Above all, I would mention his faith in God and his expressed love for Filipinos and his family.

Above are qualities that could make Filipinos choose Pacquiao leader of their country. But  should they? Should this boxer really aim for the highest public office of his country? Meanwhile, enough to say that Manny P. makes us, Filipino-Americans, happy and proud.

***

Disturbing news from Manila:

Last week, I was bothered by a report I saw on “TV Patrol” about the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) evicting cancer-stricken children and their parents from a charitable residential facility located within the compound of that government office.

The occupants are poor children from far away provinces with cancer who, together with their parents, stay at the place called Child Haus temporarily while undergoing cancer treatment in Manila hospitals.

The report said the management of PCSO had threatened to cut water and electric services at the facility if the sick occupants won’t leave the building immediately.

As we say here, what a shame!

The cruelty and heartlessness behind this news can be likened to a boyfriend who abandoned his loving and hopeful girlfriend for another woman without a formal break up simply because his sisters did not like the poor girl and preferred a richer girl for him instead, even if the girl was much younger and could be the daughter of their brother.

Is this what an administration that prides itself for being pro-poor does to its poor? The least the PCSO could have done was to look for another place for those sick children instead of threatening them with eviction.

Is this heartless act being done simply because Child Haus was started during GMA’s time? If the answer is yes, I could smell political revenge from this administration.

After this story was aired by “TV Patrol,” the PCSO granted six months extension to the occupants of Child Haus to look for another place they could use. To us, the cruelty behind the story was not diminished by the extension. It should not have happened at all in the first place.

***

Another disturbing news from Manila is the seemingly quiet sibling presidency that is going on. I received the following from someone in Manila about the recent meeting of President Noynoy Aquino with certain CBCP bishops about the Reproductive Health Bill now pending in Congress. Here’s the note:

“It’s not only what the Filipinos expect from (President) Noynoy Aquino that counts; what matters most is how he exercises his power; he should not leave to his sisters the decision making in the government...Ate Ballsy is too protective of Noynoy, as in she is not confident of what Noynoy can do...Ballsy chooses the persons whom Noynoy would meet...(I read reports she and her sisters also choose the people to be appointed in government offices), Ballsy was the one who selected the CBCP bishops who met with Noynoy re Reproductive Health Bill; she chose the bishops who do not know anything about the Bill so that Noynoy need not argue with them; Archbishop Aniceto who is very knowledgeable on the subject being the Chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life was not even in the meeting.”

I have no further comment. Lest I may be accused of being a negative columnist.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it