Wednesday, December 1, 2010



Manny Pacquiao’s convincing shellacking of Antonio Margarito and a budding political career in the Philippine Congress have sparked speculations he could become President in the future.

“Oh my gosh!” exclaimed Roberto Tamayo, vice president of the Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC) and chair of the recently concluded 2010 Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards, in mocked shock.

He doesn’t think the 8-division boxing champion should run for the presidency.
Talk of a presidential run was fueled in part by Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, who predicted the boxing icon could be Philippine president soon.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile suggested talks of Pacquiao for President “devalues the presidency”.

“I’m not saying he’s not qualified. Anybody is qualified to be president but I doubt whether he can really handle the job,” he explained.

“Mas okay siya sa local government,” opined Bong Pangilinan, head of the UP Alumni Association in the Metro DC region.

Aiming for the presidency, he said, requires a much broader knowledge of the country.

“He must be in-tune not only with people like him, but other people as well,” he explained.

But Julie Yap Daza, writing in her column “Medium Rare” noted – “We’ve tried everything, mechanic, lawyer, housewife, general, actor, economist – why not a boxer?”

Pacquiao's aunt and Arlington resident "Mommy Lilia" with die-hard fan Patrick Ferraren at a Fil-Am gala in Washington DC last June

At age 32, Pacquiao is still too young even to run for senator (at least 35 years old), much less as president. Under the Philippine Constitution, he will need to be at least 40 to qualify for the top office of the land.

Though he still has a long way to go, Pacquiao’s already got one vote from accountant Patrick Ferraren, an unabashed Pacquiao fan.

“If an actor like Erap Estrada can be president, what more of Pacquiao?” he asked.

“There are a lot of lessons we can learn from him. His definition of boxing is hard work. People with similar talent don’t work as hard and he has a fierce determination to succeed. He has integrity, his work ethic is unequalled, he is a family man and spiritual stalwart and these are the qualities the nation needs,” Ferraren averred.

To say that Pacquiao has a large following in the Metro DC region might be superfluous, but he has personal ties here as well.

His Aunt Lilia, reportedly a sister of his mother Dionesia Dapidran Pacquiao, is an Arlington, Virginia resident.

Ferraren said he started to be a Pacquiao fan after he won his grudge match with Erik Morales in Las Vegas in 2006.

All the talk about a possible presidential run stems in part from Pacquiao’s multi-faceted interests outside the ring.

Aside from being a neophyte politician, he has canned several movies, has at least two platinum music albums, performed to sold-out concerts and is one of the hottest commercial endorsers today.

His next fight won’t come until the summer, according to Pacquiao himself.

In his audience with President Benigno Aquino III, he gushed with joy after receiving the President’s support for what appears to be his pet project as congressman – building Sarangani’s first provincial hospital.

Just as Filipinos welcomed their hero home, Arum started negotiations for Pacquiao’s next fight, meeting with representatives of WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and Shane Mosley.

Notably absent was mention of champion-in-hiding Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Fil-Ams say they’re not concerned who the “People’s Champ” will fight next, confident he’ll demolish anyone pitted against him.

“He should stand his ground,” declared Pangilinan, “he is not only the Philippine champion, he is the world champion and he should set the ground rules.”

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