Cartoon by Roni Santiago
Cartoon by Roni Santiago

It is now official: World boxing champion and Sarangani Province Representative Manny Pacquiao will run for senator in the 2016 elections.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who will be the candidate for president of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in next year’s elections, announced that Pacquiao will be one of UNA’s 12 senatorial candidates.

Binay said Pacquiao was at the top of a list of the first six senatorial candidates to be fielded by UNA. The five others are Senator Vicente Sotto III, Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Buhay party-list Representative Lito Atienza, Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian and former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Earlier, Pacquiao’s colleagues in Congress had asked him to think twice before he decides to run for senator.

AKO Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe and Magdalo party-list Rep. Francisco Ashley Acedillo cautioned Pacquiao against running for senator.

“Pacquiao can run and may even win as senator, but the job is not suited for him. Pacquiao’s talents and achievements are more relevant to positions that will inspire and unify our people to action. We would be doing a great disservice to Pacquiao and the country if we put him in the Senate where the gift of gab, not jab, is the main qualification,” Batocabe said.

“For an action man like Pacquiao who prefers to talk less, his six-year term will be the saddest chapter of his life,” he added.

Noting that a senator’s job is a Herculean task, Acedillo asked Pacquiao to first discern if he should spend less time in boxing and other activities and instead concentrate on lawmaking.

“My question: Are we ready to let go of him as our boxing and national icon and come to terms with him as a full-time politician? Because as far as I understand, he cannot excel in one without spending less time in the other,” he said.

From our standpoint, we see that Pacquiao will certainly be elected as senator. In fact, we expect the world boxing champion to top the elections as his millions of adoring boxing fans will surely vote for him.

But we cannot help but agree with Batocabe and Acedillo’s argument that as a senator, he would be useless because he does not have the necessary experience and parliamentary skills. He would be knocked out in the first round if he is pitted in a debate against, say, Senator Miriam Santiago.

If he is elected senator, he would become a member of the “committee of silence,” an unsavory description of lawmakers who seldom or never participate in plenary discussions and debates. One example of this variety of lawmakers is Senator Lito Lapid.

In such scenario, it would be a huge waste of government time and resources if Pacquiao becomes a senator.