June 21, 2024

Among all the presidential candidates, Manny Pacquiao was the first to announce his intention to seek the presidency. When he did, too many eyebrows were raised and too many intellectuals were taken aback by the prospect of having him as the next leader of the country.
In fact, a lot of his colleagues in the Senate tried to talk him out of it. But he persisted and filed his certificate of candidacy.
Now, he is on the campaign trail, doling out his achievements and money to convince the electorate to vote for him on May 2022. Is he on the right track? Is the “Pacman for President” for real? There are a lot of factors working against him.
Foremost is his lack of education. He is not a legitimate degree holder and his educational background is suspect.
In a complex society where there are many complex problems that need to be solved with a complex intelligence and diligent hard work, his lack of educational attainment may ultimately take a toll on his leadership.
It may be that the Constitution does not make a college degree as a qualification to run for the presidency. All that is required is that the candidate is a natural-born citizen and is able to read and write. Pacquiao has all these traits.
So, what’s the fuss?
If we were in the 1960s, probably he would make a decent president. Life was so much simpler then and people gravitated toward what is popular. But hey, we are in the middle of the new millennium being confronted by a pandemic and a divisive political system that requires a mental acumen developed through years of education and experience. Pray tell me, does the Pacman have these?
True, Pacquiao is sincere in his desire to lead the Philippines and implement his own brand of a successful government. However, sincerity alone does not make an organized state. What is needed is a political will that shall serve both the rich and the poor, the stable and the downtrodden, the neglected and the privileged.
By harping that he will rid the country of poverty and inequality, Pacquiao is threading on generalities that had been the oft-repeated promises of traditional politicians. He should be more than that.
In his campaign sorties, Pacquiao easily attracts a large crowd. They mob him, hug him, and pose for photographs with him as a lifetime souvenir. It does not mean, though, that they will vote for him. Some fall in line because he doles out some tokens like money. He says that this is not “vote buying” because he had been doing this even before he filed his certificate of candidacy. Would he do the same if he wins? I doubt.
People love Pacquiao for what he really is. He is a national treasure who brought the Philippines to the throes of world consciousness. He made us proud to be Filipinos. He did this as a boxer par excellence, the best in the world. Can this be said of his aspiration to be the next president? History is not on his side.
Look, the Pacman, at the height of his popularity, ventured into other endeavors with little success. He became an actor, a singer, an endorser, a professional basketball player, a congressman, a senator, and a slew of other jobs that only a man of his stature can attain.
Was it because of talent that he was able to get away with these with wanton disregard of his limitation? He attained this because he is Manny Pacquiao and nothing more.
In short, Pacquiao is better off as a sportsman than anything else, much more a president of the Republic of the Philippines.