Friday, February 22, 2019

Malilong: Pacquiao a bad congressman

THE only time I was in the Cebu City Sports Center for the Sinulog was two years ago when we worked as extras in TV5’s coverage of the event. Other years, I was at home watching the parade and street dancing on television.

For some inexplicable reason last week, I felt the urge to join the crowd inside the complex again. So I asked Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella if he could spare me one media pass which, I knew, would give me the nearest thing to unlimited access.

The vice mayor gave me my pass last Tuesday during our weekly Walk and Talk lunch. At that time, all doubts on whether I should watch the Sinulog had already vanished, thanks to the contingent from Catbalogan City whose dress rehearsal we were able to watch early that morning.

I hate to say this because the contingents still have to perform but from what I have seen, the Warays are serious contenders for the title this year. The jury is not even out yet and, in law, I would have been imprisoned or at least slapped a hefty fine for breach of the sub judice rule for doing this. But I am making this bold prediction:
Catbalogan will be top three.

If it does, much of the credit should go to the Catbalogan city mayor, a lady whose name escapes me but whose reputation as an attractive lady and a no-nonsense public official (not necessarily in that order) precedes her.

Mayor Michael Rama deserves credit and praise for the participation not only of Catbalogan but of the other out-of-town contingents in the Sinulog.

The festival can be said to be his baby even if he is not its father. Former Customs collector Boy Odilao is. But we all know that Mike has been Mr. Sinulog even when he was not yet the Cebu City mayor. I heard that this year, he has been particularly vigorous in working towards another successful Sinulog.

I look forward to an enjoyable Sunday.


Like most, if not all, Filipinos, I idolize Manny Pacquiao. I am proud of what he has done inside the ring and I am grateful for the honor that he has brought to the Filipino nation. His place in sports history is secure.

Sadly, it’s something that I cannot say about Pacquiao, the elected public official.

While Manny is quick with his fists in pummeling his foes inside the ring, he is not as fast with his feet in attending sessions of the House of Representatives.

The records of the House show that the honorable gentleman from Sarangani has attended a total of only four, I repeat four, sessions of Congress in all of 2014. Holy cow, he was present in Congress only four times in 365 days!

Of course, we know where had been most of the time. He was busy training for his fights. Instead of rubbing elbows with fellow congressmen, he was trading mitts with his sparring partners.

Manny is a good person; people say he has a heart of gold. But he is a bad congressman and the earlier he is told that, the better for his reputation. His is the perfect example of the sheer impossibility of serving two masters at the same time, especially two very demanding masters.

There are talks that he will be running for higher office in 2016, the Senate most probably. He will surely get elected because of his immense popularity. But does he have, never mind the competence because we have seen more incompetent men in that chamber, the time?

Pacquiao should make his choice. If he does not want to retire until he gets his megabuck fight with Floyd Mayweather, then he should quit politics in the meantime.

But if it is the Senate that his heart desires, then he should hang up his gloves now. Even he who has given us immense pride should not have the best of both worlds.

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