Seares: English? Least of Manny’s woes

CONCLUDING his questioning of Arthur Lascañas in last Monday’s Senate hearing, Sen. Manny Pacquiao moved “to contempt” the retired police officer.

What got ribbing, if not outright ridicule, in media forums and site soon after he said it, wasn’t Pacquiao’s move to punish Lascañas for his contradictory testimonies.

It was for saying “I move to contempt,” over which grammar police promptly raised noise about mayhem on the language.

It’s the content

And yet inability to speak good English is not the handicap that matters. Not in his job as senator, where he can speak in Tagalog and have his remarks in English written by some ghostwriter.

His first privileged speech as senator, in August 2016, was noticed “for its biblical tones and his religious belief,” not its English.

What angers critics online and in radio talk shows could be that treads on august Senate grounds. They didn’t mind him as member of the House (which he served two straight terms starting 2010). They just can’t associate him with the likes of Jose Diokno and Lorenzo Tañada. But “desecration” of the Senate started long ago when senators were elected not on the basis of intellect but on their being household names and entertainers.

Vulnerable spot

That means some thinking before he opens his mouth or does anything else verbal. A requirement that applies not only to him but to all others who call themselves senator, congressman or president.

A major vulnerable spot is Manny’s apparent inexperience and naivete in politics. He may be used by veteran politicians to do the dirty job for them, which was suspected when he moved to declare vacancies that resulted in the “massacre” of Liberal Party senators.

Knowing the job

Last Feb. 17, when he declared that homosexuals behave worse than animals, he might have believed he was promoting “better moral conduct.”

Being senator, he said shortly after he polled 16 million votes last May, would be easy. Why? He could memorize biblical verses, he said, as if the Senate were just a pastor’s pulpit.

Does Pacquiao even know what a senator’s job is?
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