PHOTO: Pacquiao wears No. 17 uniform in team that he coaches.
Manny Pacquiao has certainly contributed much to the Philippines by being first and only eight-division world champion in boxing.
His achievements in boxing are certainly unparalleled, and he undoubtedly put the Philippines on the world map of boxing.
Unfortunately, his public service record as a lawmaker or member of Congress is pathetic, embarrassing and even deplorable.
He attended only four Congressional meetings in the past legislative session, according to Congress records. His excuse for numerous absences? He was busy training for boxing bouts — and other activities, namely coaching a basketball team, playing in that basketball team, acting and even singing.
Now, he wants to run for the Senate, the upper chamber of Congress, clearly intending to use his popularity as a national boxing champion to enter Congress.
But after sorely neglecting his duties and responsibilities as a congressman and not doing anything to sponsor or even co-sponsor any proposed laws, how can he expect Filipino voters to take him seriously as a member of Congress again?
With no accomplishment or track record to show and speak of as a lawmaker — when he was given a chance to shine — people like Pacquiao have no business aspiring to become a senator.
There are only 24 seats in the Senate and only half are up for grabs in the 2016 national elections. The best and the brightest, with a genuine interest to serve as lawmakers, should therefore be elected — not those whose primary ticket is their popularity across the country.
Pacquiao’s decision to run under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) political party also raises very serious questions about his political maturity and simple sense of right and wrong.
Binay now faces five separate plunder charges aside from corruption and other charges of malpractice when he served as mayor of Makati city. The Ombudsman has found sufficient grounds to charge Binay’s son, Junjun, with the Ombudsman, prompting the Ombudsman to sack him as Makati mayor and to bar him permanently from public service.
The elder Binay faces detention in case sufficient grounds are found in any one of the five plunder charges that he is currently facing. Separately, the Anti Money Laundering Council has uncovered financial records and other documents pointing to unexplained wealth and multi-billion peso transactions by two of his closest henchmen.
While the Binays can still be presumed innocent until positively proven guilty, the barrage of charges, testimonials at the ongoing Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee and findings of the Anti Money Laundering Council all point to malpractices allegedly committed by members of the Binay family.
Teaming up with the elder Binay, who is widely accused of graft and corruption, speaks loud and clear about the Pacquiao’s questionable and murky sense of right and wrong. If Pacquiao is embracing a senior official who is widely accused of stealing monies from the Filipino people, does this mean he condones and turns a blind eye on officials who are depriving poor Filipinos of what rightfully belongs to them?
With his appallingly poor record in public service and questionable sense of right and wrong, the Senate is better served not having Pacquiao as one of its members next year.