“Somebody asked me about the current choice we’re being given in the presidential election. I said, Well, it’s like two of the scariest movies I can imagine.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY –– Don’t be scared.
The hoi polloi in the Philippines failed to send action star Fernando “Da King” Poe Jr. to Malacanang in 2004 partly because of the “Hello Garci” scandal.
Come 2022 presidential election, will they try again and succeed when boxing icon Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao becomes a candidate?
Like “Da King”, Pacquaio is identified with the masa, the“mamang sorbetero”, “isang kahig, isang tuka” and the bakyacrowd.
When Poe was “killed” in the film, some of his fans ran amuck literally (this happened somewhere in Mindanao when Poe was not yet a presidential candidate, according to some reports).
When Pacquiao lost a fight, some of his irate fans cried “wewuz robbed” and were determined to lynch sportswriters like me who explained why he was defeated.
Candidates like Pacquiao, Mocha Uson, Dolphy, Poe, Erap could easily hit paydirt in the Philippines.
Article VII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution provides that no person may be elected President unless he or she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least 40 years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years.
Pacquiao, who will turn 40 on December 17, 2018, will be qualified to run in 2022 under the Philippine charter.
At least two prominent leaders known all over the world have predicted Pacquiao’s ascension to Malacanang in the near future.
They were Top Rank promoter Bob Arum in sports and President Rodrigo R. Duterte in government.
I personally heard Arum predict and endorse newly crowned WBA welterweight champion Pacquiao during his conquest of Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas in 2008.
“Because of his popularity and the tremendous pride and glory that he gave the Philippines, Manny (Pacquiao) will definitely be the next president of the Philippines,” Arum, a lawyer, told us during the pre-fight press conference 10 years ago.
During Pacquiao’s 38th birthday in 2016, Duterte, who asked Pacquiao to retire after demolishing Lucas Martin Mathysse in Kuala Lumpur on July 15, 2018, told the crowd in the young senator’s party that “with your own style, alam ko na magiging presidente ka rin. Ipagpatuloy mo ang ginagawa mo(I know that you will also someday become the president. Just continue what you are doing). ”
Pacquiao’s popularity among the same quality and bracket of voters that gave Poe, former president and now Manila mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, former senators Lito Lapid, Ramon Revilla Sr., Bong Revilla and President Duterte overwhelming votes, has snowballed now that he has bagged the WBA 147-lb diadem and he is expected to provide the fans with more excitement and entertainment when he defends his title.
Now that Pacquiao has revealed he isn’t yet quitting as a prizefighter at 39 and he will be promoted by his own MP Promotions without the need for any imprimatur from Arum and without any curfew from Freddie Roach, this would give him the leverage to solidify his political wherewithal and pile up more millions of dollars for his campaign kitty.
Fans have almost forgotten and have even forgiven Pacquiao for his lackluster performance against Jeff Horn and for hiding a shoulder injury in losing by unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. that cost those who placed bets for him millions of pesos.
The way his seventh round KO victory over the Argentine dynamo was received by adoring fans in the Philippines could be a tell tale sign and a curt message for other presidential candidates with doctorate and Harvard degrees to begin shaking in their boots.