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Make Or Break

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Since he reportedly violated health protocols for visiting his pregnant wife in the hospital in March last year despite testing positive for Covid, this is the first time I am siding with Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for chiding the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi who warned the “People’s Champ” of expulsion from the PDP-Laban.

Sen. Koko tagged as a sham and an agitation the possible expulsion of Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao from the ruling political party, which was founded by his father, former DILG Secretary and Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. In his own words: “This issue is all a bluff meant to distract Senator Manny Pacquiao from his world championship boxing bout.”

True, the maneuvering within PDP-Laban could distract the mindset of Sen. Pacquiao, instead of focusing on his upcoming fight against reigning WBA welterweight super champ Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas this Sunday, Philippine time.

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The fight, actually, is a make or break for Sen. Manny, who got himself in political entanglements with Secretary Cusi. The divisiveness in PDP-Laban with the energy secretary on one hand and Sen. Koko and Pacquiao on the other originated from the differing views of both camps on who should be the standard bearer of the party. The Cusi faction is a staunch supporter of President Duterte while Sen. Koko is supporting Sen. Pacquiao as one of the possible presidential candidates.

The outcome of the Las Vegas bout will spell the difference for the political standing of the Pambansang Kamao. Just like in April 2016 when he unanimously defeated Timothy Bradley that led him to winning a Senate seat without too much effort in campaigning. In fact, most political and boxing analysts predicted then that without a doubt his senatorial win could bring him nearer the top electoral post if he so decides to take the punch.

There’s already jockeying for the position. And the wannabes are taking the prime time infomercials, using some form of euphemism to avoid being tagged for early electioneering.  

As far back as the early months of the year, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was the first to do the infomercial, pushing for the P10,000 financial assistance for the benefit of those affected by the pandemic. In my mind, it’s just a lame excuse and a not so subtle way of telling the people he’s actually aiming for a higher post.

There’s the Villar cashing-in on the celebration of Father’s Day with lyrics”…pabalik na pabalik na, kaming mahirap ay bida sa kanya…” that touches the heart of the marginalized but vote rich sector. The Villar infomercial is kind of vague as to who between the father and son – the former Senate President Manny Villar or son Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar – is really running and for what position.

And of course who would miss “Yorme’s,” which I noticed comes out at prime time when the day’s news is being dished out for those who are having their dinner. It speaks about his achievements, what he had done in the decaying Manila. The line that catches my attention is about the boy who used to make a living out of people’s discard brought back “dignity” in Manila.

Then, there’s former Vice President Jejomar Binay whose message touches the heart of the young voters through his slogan “basa” or read.

The outcome of the 2022 presidential election is a function of the electorate. And what does the electorate want? Candidates who will be able to pull them out of the financial and health predicament we’re all in right now.

This coming Sunday, everybody, as has been the case in his previous ring encounters, everyone will be glued on TV. Because, a victory for Sen. Manny could mean a furtherance of his political career. And defeat could drag down his quest to be the next resident of the Palace.

For comments and feedback, email me at fillmein330@gmail.com


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