IF boxing great Manny Pacquiao does run for the highes position in the land, he already has a major endorser in a Filipino national artist no less.
F. Sionil Jose (Francisco Sionil Jose), novelist, writer, and journalist, believes the Philippine senator and boxing legend is very much qualified to run for the Philippine presidency in the 2022 national elections.
Jose said the fact that Pacquiao has the financial capacity to fund his presidential campaign makes him a viable candidate since it means not being beholden to any backer or patron should he be elected to the position.
“He does not have to scrounge for funds, and every peso of his money was earned,” said the novelist in his column ‘Hindsight’ in the Philippine Star published on Monday.
Being a world-class athlete and a legendary boxer also makes him eligible for the position, according to Jose, who even brought up the case of former Presidents Corazon Aquino and son Benigno Aquino III as well as Ferdinand Marcos.
Aquino was a plain housewife and widow of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr, when she was catapulted to power in 1986 through People’s Power, while PNoy was swept to the presidency in 2010 almost a year after the death of her mother.
“Yes, Marcos was very qualified, but look at what he did to this country,” said Sionil, 95. “He is precisely the best argument against those so-called brilliant politicians who want to be President.”
“Manny is intelligent to be where he is, he trained very hard, disciplined himself, and studied himself, his opponents, their strengths and weaknesses,” added the well-respected writer.
Jose's endorsement comes in the wake of Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s revelation that the 41-year-old eight-division world champion extended an invitation for him to attend his inauguration in 2022 during a recent Zoom meeting.
Arum later apologized to the Filipino senator, saying he should have left Pacquiao to announce his candidacy.
That Pacquiao shed sweat and blood to rise from poverty and become one of the richest athletes in the world also made him qualified for the job, according to Jose.
“He rose from the depths of povery, he knew what hunger only too well, that poverty is our people’s most serious problem. How to abolish it, I hope, is his first priority,” said the many-time Palanca awardee. “I hear that his vices are few, affordable, and riddable.”
Pacquiao being religious will likewise help him in his bid for the presidency.
“It gives him moral strength and direction,” Sionil added. “He is now a Senator; he is exposed to the realities of political power, how it is acquired, how it can be abused.
“I hope this Senate experience has illustrated to him who are the real enemies of the Filipino people, who made them poor. The oligarchy – I hope that deep in his heart and mind he understands this – that to erase poverty in this country, it is necessary to destroy, emasculate or change this oligarchy and to neutralize their political allies.”
And then, there’s the cordon of people who should be carefully selected to work with him.
“Manny needs to understand this necessary change and adaptation and the compelling need to identify good friends and advisers,” Jose said.
In parting, the writer added, “Manny loves his popularity; he revels in the spotlight and the front pages. He must be ready to accept that this adulation will also diminish as he ages.
“What he leaves behind will be greater than himself. Manny Pacquiao has a lot of physical courage. I hope he has moral courage, too.”