Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Manny Pacquiao is going to do politics again

So Manny Pacquiao, the most popular Filipino sportsman I know, has decided to retire in 2009. That's bad news enough, but here's an even more depressing one: he's going to run for office. Again.

He's not sure which office exactly. I won't be surprised if Kampi, the party he signed up for, is going to include him in the senatorial slate--or, who knows, make him run for vice president. Popularity, at least in this country, is everything. And with the upcoming match of Manny this December where he's expected to win, his name will be the talk of the town. Name recall, friends, is the reason why politicians have begun their tv ads this early, and Manny Pacquiao will have it easy.

Manny Pacquiao's reason is almost heartwarming: he wants to serve the Filipinos better. As if the boxing titles he's been winning for this country haven't been enough.

In this way, he demonstrates a textbook example of one of the things that's wrong with us: the notion that for us to serve the country better, we have to be in politics.

For my part, I can serve this country by coming to my classes on time. For his part, he can probably set up a foundation (which popular people like him are bound to do) to help give scholarship to poor children.

One can argue, of course, that it's too early to tell: Manny may emerge a good politician, inasmuch as he is a good boxer. But,you see, Philippine politics is an arena where one's idealism gets swallowed up by the corrupt system. I think Manny shouldn't risk it. His name beckons Filipino pride. Once he gets into politics, I'm almost certain it will be muddied up.

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