For someone who has told his party that it’s premature to talk about 2022 politics, Senator Manny Pacquiao did little to rebut retired Justice Antonio Carpio’s opinion of the sports icon as “lacking the competence to be president” based on his record as a champion absentee in the House and Senate.
Only days earlier, Manny had advised members of PDP-Laban to drop their agenda for a Duterte-Duterte teamup, advising them that the pandemic required all their attention and time. In his reply to Justice Carpio, the (boxing) champ said he was absent only four times from the Senate whereas his frequent absences in the House were “not because I want to but because I need to.”
“I also want the public, especially those saying I have no right (to run for the highest office) to give me a chance,” the senator added. Manny Pacman, pugilist, playing coy?
Forthwith, the ex-bureaucrat-technocrat in our eating club chided his listeners, “Stop giggling. Manny is the most famous Filipino in the world. His name and face are known to other heads of state. When he addresses the US Congress or the UN, he’s sure to pack the hall, SRO.” Gigglers silenced.
For someone who disavows any interest in seeking the presidency, Senator Bong Go is setting his own record as the most seen-and-heard noncandidate in print, broadcast, and digital media. President Duterte has teased him, “Do you want to be president?” He meekly shook his head.
Yet Bong Go – the name resonates, as when a bishop introduced a brother cleric during a religious service and pronounced the latter’s name as Bong Go – is everywhere every day. Unless he has a doppelganger, how explain his omnipresence commiserating with victims of fire, floods, no-ayuda, life’s seeming unfairness. Near or far, he arrives bearing gifts of food, cash, bicycles, shoes.
His signature Malasakit Centers have served thousands by bringing the usual red tape-bound government services under one roof — no fees paid. “No fees, no corruption,” said an adoring fan, a once-upon-a-time barangay captain.
I told the kapitan, “What’s Mrs. Go like? I miss watching a first lady providing the feminine, maternal touch in Malacañang. How does Mrs. Bong Go compare with Jinkee Pacquiao?” My friend dismissed the question.