The arrogance of Manny Pacquiao: ‘I don’t just sit around making laws’

A special guest of the Fil-Am Press Club of NY. Photos by Noel Pangilinan)

A special guest of the Fil-Am Press Club of NY. Photos by Noel Pangilinan

By Cristina DC Pastor

Boxing great Manny Pacquiao strode into the airy Upper East Side residence of the Consul General trailed by almost everyone. He wore a gray linen suit in plaid that made him stand out like a really special person.

The event was the post-holiday party for the Fil-Am Press Club hosted by Consul General and Mrs. Mario de Leon Jr. Pacquiao, who was promoting his film, “Manny” to premiere in NYC on January 23, accepted our invitation to come to our event. Everyone was excited.

The press club members who were about to start their dinner dropped everything to join the guests that had gathered around Pacquiao. By the time I reached the piano room where he stood beside our host, Consul General De Leon, the guests had ringed him almost three rows deep. I could only peek from between shoulders and heads, but I managed to slither among guests and found myself two people away from him. I needed to be close because I was itching to ask him about the Mayweather fight.

His voice was soft, almost humble, as he invited everyone to watch “Manny,” directed by Ryan Moore. It’s about his life of struggle, he said. It’s how he confronted challenges and overcame them to reach the pinnacle of his boxing career, a legend equal in importance perhaps only to Muhammad Ali.

My colleagues managed to shoot questions, and some of Pacquiao’s response stunned me. Someone asked about his attendance record as a congressman at the House of Representatives. According to press reports, he had the lowest attendance: seven out of 70 session days.

He replied, “May ginagawa naman tayo hindi lang tayo nakaupo. Yung iba diyan nakaupo lang, gawa ng gawa ng batas. Tumutulong naman tayo sa tao.”

I was surprised by the response I had to follow up: “Pero congressman, isn’t that your job? To make laws?”

Pacquiao did not answer directly but his next statement was even more jaw-dropping. He said, “Mas gusto ko nga kung natalo ako, sana natalo na lang ako.” He said he has spent more money than a pork barrel budget, as if suggesting he could help more people as a private citizen.

Next time, he continued, “Huwag niyo na ako iboto. Mas gusto ko nga matalo na lang ako.” He rambled on in his trademark soft-spoken manner so he didn’t come across as obnoxious.

At this point, I began to look at Pacquiao not as a beloved boxing idol but one whose Fame has traveled to his head. I began to wonder if he was being sarcastic, or if he was drunk or that he realized the consequences of what he was saying. A colleague perceptively noted how Pacquiao appeared to have criticized his colleagues as do-nothings in Congress, and he too was stunned. Another colleague wondered and whispered, “Why did he run in the first place?”

I was still looking at him as the room broke into a commotion of photo-ops and selfies. Up close I saw a person whose ego must be reeling between many years of fisted punches and the adulation of millions. He didn’t care that he only attended seven days of sessions, robbing his constituency of a voice in important legislation. But then, maybe he’s telling us something. Maybe there’s no need to attend congressional sessions, which, of late, have become talking clubs and anti-corruption witchhunts and nothing more. Maybe it’s better to be out there in the trenches talking to people and giving them direct assistance, rather than assistance that goes through check-and-balance and tight layers of Executive-Legislative oversight.

I am wary of politicians like Manny Pacquiao who does not seem to understand the institutional nature of being a lawmaker. That his job does not involve handouts, but making laws that will provide jobs, education, and opportunities to create a society where it becomes unnecessary to provide handouts that foster dependency. Pacquiao is adored by legions of young people, and his startling message that night seemed to be that: Who says you have to follow the law to be a congressman?

Pacquiao with members of the press club and Consul General and Mrs. Mario de Leon Jr.

Pacquiao with members of the press club and Consul General and Mrs. Mario de Leon Jr.

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2 Comments

  1. Eto na nga ang cnasabi q lagi sa mga klase q eh…anu ang gagawin ng isang boksingero sa kamara?! Siya ang pinakamayaman and nangunguna sa maraming absent. Nagpapayaman kaya laging absent!
    And yet majority of our kababayan even the media keep on cheering him, kulang na lng ilagay sa pedestal, sobrang sensationalized ang mga news!
    Don’t they even realize that our taxes are wasted?!
    Nagpapasweldo ang taong bayan sa taong di ginagampanan ang tungkulin sa bayan…stupidity….he just dont sit around making law?!? Eh anu ba xa?! Hnd ba’t LAW MAKER xa?!
    Tayong mga tax payer kapag absent nakakaltasan, siya kaya kpg absent may kaltas?
    Kpag nananalo xa sa laban at milyon ang nadadagdag sa yaman nya, may nabago ba sa mga buhay ng mga constituents nya?
    And just for a thought…they keep on cheering him for the sake of the”filipino pride”… where’s the FILIPINO PRIDE ba talaga? Meron pa ba?
    Nakakahiya…
    Un ang nakikita ng buong mundo..tsk.tsk

  2. Kai wrote:

    This is something that is old but doesn’t need some updates or changes since this article is still on point.

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