News reports from Manila stated that boxing-legend Manny Pacquiao will hang his gloves in 2016 to run for vice president of the Republic of the Philippines.
Pacquiao, who is now the congressman of Sarangani Province, disclosed last September 8 his political plan during a radio interview in Mexico. He was in Mexico to promote his November 12, 2011 fight with Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Come 2016, I am (going) to run for vice president. No more boxing at that time,” the 32-year-old boxer-politician was quoted by reporters as saying.
If he runs for VP in 2016, Pacquiao would have eligibility problem because by that time, he will be only 37 years old — three years short of the constitutional age requirement of 40, the reports also stated.
Commenting on Pacquiao’s political plan, Ramon Carandang, secretary of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, said, “it is a testament to (the vibrancy of) our democracy that Manny Pacquiao who grew up poor and worked hard to succeed can aspire for the second highest office.”
Philippine democracy is indeed vibrant, and in fact it is so vibrant that practically any Filipino can run for any elective office. But the question at the moment is: Shall we support Pacquiao’s vice-presidential bid in 2016?
It may still too early to make a decision on the matter because in politics, particularly the Philippine kind, changes come at the speed of light. These changes will certainly influence our decision when the time comes.
At present, there is no question that Pacquiao is the most popular Filipino all over the world. His rag-to-riches story has fascinated millions of people, particularly the poor.
But will Pacquiao be still as popular as he is today in 2016? Will his popularity be translated into votes?
Popularity is a key to success in Philippine politics. This was demonstrated repeatedly by the actor-politicians, among them former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
But popularity alone is not a sound basis for a decision on whom we should elect as our officials. There is much to be desired in the performance of many actor-politicians as public officials. This is mainly due to the fact that they sorely lack the educational qualification for the positions to which they are elected.
If Pacquiao intends to make good as vice president, he should step up his efforts to learn the science of governance that would enable him to become a competent public official.
He should also be a role model for public officials. He can do this by avoiding scandals (remember Crista Ranillo?) that could tarnish his reputation. He should likewise stop associating with people with questionable reputation.
If he performs well as vice president, there is no doubt he would be a shoo-in for election as President in 2022.