Are you ready for a Manny Pacquiao presidency?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-09-22
Indeed, are you ready for a Manny Pacquiao presidency? Do you really believe that Manny Pacquiao will be as good a Philippine president just as he has been touted as the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer? Do you really think that Manny Pacquiao, with his informal high school education, can better run this country than good past presidents like Manuel Quezon, Sergio Osmena Sr., Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos?

Just because Manny Pacquiao made a lot of money for himself and Bob Arum — are you assuming that as president he can also make a lot of money for all Filipinos? With mighty China threatening to take over the Spratlys from our country — are you entertaining thoughts that he can scare the Chinese with his speedy punches?

When Manny Pacquiao recently announced in a GMA Network interview in Mexico “In 2016, I plan to run for vice president. By that time there will be no more boxing for me,” he was virtually telegraphing his ambition to become president. Even if you want to delude yourself that if elected he “only wants to become vice president and nothing more” — he’ll be our president should the 2016 president pass away, be disabled from performing his duties or be impeached.

Thanks to the wisdom of the framers of our 1987 Constitution, Manny Pacquiao will not be qualified to become vice president in 2016 because he’ll be three years short of the required minimum age of 40. Of course, there is always the possibility of revising the Constitution in order to lower the age requirement to 36 so Manny Pacquiao can run for vice president. But, do you hate our country and people that much to want to do that?

Pacquiao’s rush to become vice president in 2016 is understandable. He cannot fight in the boxing ring forever. At 32, he must be feeling the need to retire before he suffers the shame of losing his title and his mystique. By 2022, the next presidential and vice presidential elections after 2016, Pacquiao would have been retired and less marketable.

When Pacquiao first ran for Congress, your Chair Wrecker was among those to take him to task for aspiring for a public office that he’s not qualified to assume. The election of academically deficient boxers like Manny Pacquiao to a high public office reflects the dysfunction in many Filipino minds stemming from the Information and Education Gaps as well as the inability to differentiate a sports “hero” from a real national hero like Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini and Ninoy Aquino.

Then too there are the disillusioned masses whose lives have worsened. They may just decide to give Manny Pacquiao a try. Considering the pathetic state of our broadcast media, where the least important news (showbiz gossip and scandals) are prioritized over major political and geopolitical developments, the masses could be misled into pinning their hopes on Manny Pacquiao.

A good part of this Pacquiao mystique was the result of media hype. Pacquiao would not have been this popular if media did not shower him with attention that even exceeds the media allocation for important national developments.

Because running for public office was democratized, the qualification standards were also set to a minimum. Age and birth circumstances form the most important hurdles. The concept behind this is not to make high public office accessible only to the elite. Ironically, we’ve been a virtual oligarchy for decades.

We do not have the ideal critical media that could at least expose the inadequacies of candidates and enlighten the electorate. The most popular of broadcast media have been slanted to the format of tabloid journalism. Popular but unqualified candidates are able to win elections for top posts because tabloid media breed and promote showbiztocracy, the term a Chair Wrecker original.

In Singapore, South Korea, and Japan — the voters there would consider it unthinkable that a boxer, with only an informal high school diploma to show, will aspire to lead their country. Japan rose from the devastation of World War II, as did South Korea from the devastation and uncertainties of the Korean War. Singapore only became a republic, independent of Malaysia, in 1965. Now, they’re light years ahead of us. You should check what they’re getting from their media.

Visit the websites of the top Japanese, South Korean and Singaporean media and see for yourself the level of discourse and the prioritization of news being exercised by their editors. They may have showbiz sections but these are not allowed to preempt important national developments. That is editorial responsibility and judgment at work - something very much lacking in some of our top broadcast media.

It’s a plus if editors have a good marketing sense because that could transform important stories into sensational reading but without losing focus on the facts and context. It’s a big minus if editors only have marketing sense and hardly any dedication to ventilating the truth, the factual and the really important developments that affect people’s lives.
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