Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pacquiao, a Martin Luther King?

As the Bamboos Sway
By Rudy D. Liporada 
Cong-PacquiaoMartin-Luther-King-JrThe question is a joke.
Hopefully, just for now.
Please don’t get me wrong. I like Manny Pacquiao. I will even bet measly hundreds of dollars on him against Floyd Mayweather in their upcoming bout at Las Vegas come May 2, 2014.
However, Purefoods top official, Rene Pardo’s remark likening Manny Pacquiao to Martin Luther King is so funny that I could not even laugh.
The remark came after Daniel Orton, an NBA import of Purefoods, frustrated that his team lost to KIA, Pacquiao’s team, where the boxer, politician, singer, actor scored his first league point, said “That’s the joke. That’s part of the joke I was talking about. Professional boxer, yeah, okay. Congressman, alright. Professional basketball player, no. It’s a joke. Seriously, it’s a joke.”
For the offensive remark, PBA commissioner Chito Salud slapped the erring import a stiff fine of P250,000.00 ($5,660.00). He was also expelled from the team with Pardo saying “What he did was like going to the US and degrading Martin Luther King. He dishonored ‘Pambansang Kamao’ who is a friend to most of our players. So even our locals got mad at Orton.”
Pardo, as a basketball expert, definitely has not mastered his similes and metaphors. For his information or, perhaps, reminder, revered Martin Luther King was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights based on his Christian beliefs.
Coming from the poor, with his natural boxing talent catapulting him to pesos billionaire row, Pacquiao has the potential to evolve into an activist, humanitarian, and leader of the Philippine Civil Rights Movement. However, the way I see it, riding on his past as poor, he appears to just now leveraging himself to evolve as a traditional politician or Trapo.
I sincerely hope not.
Nonetheless, for now, tagged as a national folk hero where his scheduled fights render the whole Philippine archipelago crime free as everyone is glued to any T.V., Pacquiao is actually a distraction from Filipino maladies. It is like the global Filipinos are having a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke, whenever his bouts are on. TIA is a temporary loss of normal neurological function caused by a transient interruption of blood flow to the brain where the interruption is Manny Pacquiao.
When Mayweather announced that their 5 year long awaited fight is on for May 2, 2015 the news flooded the headlines and audio and visual wires. All over the globe, especially in the archipelago, Filipinos chattered, rooting for the Pambansang Kamao. Many were sure, many were cautious, many predicted that, at long last, Mayweather will have his taste of Manny’s fist to silence his arrogance.
This, like the telenobelas and tattle T.V. ala-Vice Ganda interviews and entertainment shows, watered down, even for mili-seconds, what should be more important issues that Filipinos should focus on for the betterment of their lives.
Before the announcement of the fight, the Manila Times front page was flooded with the Senate hearings on the Mamapasano carnage on the Fallen 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAP). On the fight announcement, Pacquiao and Mayweather hugged the front page, almost burying the Senate hearings.
It was like, even for a split second, never mind if Senator Franklin Drillon exonerates President BS Aquino from responsibility on the Mamapasano carnage because former PNP Chief Alan Purisima has accepted total responsibility. Never mind that it was BS Aquino who placed Purisima in charge of the operations when the former chief was on suspended status.
Never mind that the Senate hearings was designed towards making the Philippine armed units blame each other for the carnage, veering away from the questions like why were there US operatives in the mission or is the US really involved in the mission granted that Marwan was in the terror list of the US. Never mind that the conclusion of the hearings was BS Aquino was not appraised properly of the situation so he is not at fault.
Also, forget for the moment that MRT fares have increased presumably to have the trains repaired when there are budget allocations for such repairs. Forget for the moment that electric rates will be increased or that gas prices will soar again in spite of gas prices going down per barrel.
Did anyone also notice that Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton pleaded not guilty to killing Jennifer Laude in spite of allegedly confiding to Marine Lance Corporal Jairn Michael Rose, who went out with Pemberton that night, that he said “I think I killed a he/she”?
And where is the DAP-PDAP issue going? Janet Napoles seems to be in the back-burner. So is Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
We are not saying that forgetting these issues, even for mili-seconds, are Pacquiao’s fault.
We are saying that he could not be compared to Martin Luther King. Far from it. Though, hopefully not if he really, as he always says, “I know how the poor feels because I came for the poor.” If he does take on the cause of the poor by not being a traditional politician after his boxing career, then he could become the Martin Luther King of the Philippines. At best, he could be a Nelson Mandela who was a former boxer though not of Pacquiao’s status but who was a great revered champion of the anti-apartheid movement.
For now, I will take advantage of Pacquiao’s skill and hope he knocks out that Floyd Mayweather so I could win almost triple my bet.
Oh! And my daughter just remarked: “Dad why are paying so much attention to that fight? Those boxers are not going to make you a millionaire. You are helping heap up their millions.”
Sorry, I got distracted.
Where was I again?
Oh! Yes. If Pacquiao could somehow evolve to really identify the roots of why he was poor given the prevailing systems in the Philippines; if he could use his stature to really fight for the rights of the poor to which he says he identifies with, really identify the enemies of the poor and help jab at them and knock them out; his legacy will catapult him higher than his being a boxer, politician, actor, singer, basketball player, or whatever.
Otherwise, he will just be a great boxer folk hero for he cannot really enact laws, act, sing, or play basketball. And never a Martin Luther King.
I am not joking.

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