Friday ∗ 20 May 2011

pacquiao, the pits

am i the only one who thinks this has gone too far? and just way low, the discourse on the Reproductive Health Bill.

it’s bad enough that we have to deal with congressmen like Amado Bagatsing who thinks prOscribe can easily be changed into prEscribe (medyo praning), like Roilo Golez who will twist previous DOH Secretary Esperanza Cabral’s words to her face about the risk factors of the pill (medyo sinungaling), like Pablo Garcia who thinks the correct response to the RH Bill is “do you believe in God?” (medyo fundamentalist), that we have to deal with every other religious anti-RH person thinking my rights as a woman immoral. but really.

congressman Manny Pacquiao, fresh from the millions he made from his last boxing match, is the pits. his mother Dionisia is scraping the bottom of that barrel.

and no, don’t even begin to deny that you are forgiving of Pacquiao, that this country in general, including the middle class and rich who would otherwise be more critical, are coddling him. Pacquiao can do no wrong ‘no? he can do no wrong, not when he’s a source of contemporary Pinoy pride: the best pound for pound boxer in the world. finally we can say there’s one of us who’s the best at something, without a doubt. finally.

oh but what is the price we pay? to think him faultless, to listen to him talk about fighting poverty and think: wow, what a wonderful speech! versus thinking: wow, how that contradicts the fact that he bought his mother a 1M peso bag. a one million peso Hermes bag that his mother asked for. that’s worse than Kris Aquino, or Willie Revillame, both of whom are undoubtedly rich and live decadently too, but at least they don’t talk about eradicating poverty, as they do helping the poor (two very different things). at least we see them both on free TV. Pacquiao we have to watch on pay per view, even if we’re Pinoy.

oh but we forgive Pacquiao everything, including his mother’s articulations. we forgive Pacquiao the politicians that appear around him, no matter that we don’t trust them. we forgive him, even as he is mouthing lines from the Bible in relation to something that is totally and absolutely extraneous to religiosity. he gets up on that podium in Quiapo Church, and no one no one says he was wrong to do it. he misquotes the Bible, and we don’t correct him, are careful to make fun of the grammatical error. and we don’t invoke this:

It can’t be very difficult for Pacquiao to financially support his brood of four; the champion fighter is worth an estimated $70 million. But 33% of people in the Philippines, a nation of nearly 92 million, live below the poverty line, earning less than $1.35 per day. (Brenhouse, Time Magazine, 19 May 2011)

those anti-RH congressmen are just as bad, putting Pacquiao up to be beaten to a pulp by congressman Edcel Lagman, the worst strategy as far as congressman Mong Palatino is concerned failing as Pacquiao did. the anti-RH congressmen are saying of course not! Pacquiao did the best he could! yes, of course you’ll say that, he’s on your side. congressman Sherwin Tugna says: “<…> dahil sikat si Congressman Manny, marami ang nakinig at marami ang nalinawan dahil sa kanyang mga tanong at dahil sa magiting at malinaw na paliwanag sa sagot naman ng pro-RH na si Congressman Edcel Lagman.”

sige na nga congressman. but we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here, so there has to be media mileage on Dionisia, flared nostrils and fully made up, screaming on nationwide television, defending her son Manny against the big bad wolf that is senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. just so it’s clear here, it was the anti-RH congressmen who made a puppet out of Pacquiao when they let him make a fool of himself so their cause could get media mileage. just so it’s clear, Jinkee admitted to using the pill in January 2011, Dionisia, not at all when they were newlyweds. and just so it’s clear, this is not just Pacquiao following the word of the Lord, this is him, as congressman joining a discussion on a bill that about women’s rights. and if all he can talk about is the Lord, then really, he deserves the criticism the rest of the congressmen like him are getting.

except that Pacquiao barely gets criticized, and in fact is saved from it mostly by the idea that so many others in congress are worse than him, so many of them are corrupt, so many others are downright evil. Pacquiao meanwhile will build a hospital in Sarangani, has brought commerce to Gen San, has helped the poor more than many others. he’s a nice guy, they say, nicer than most. plus, he’s a world class boxer! oh what more could we ask for?

ah, the question really is: why do we not ask for more? especially since Pacquiao himself demanded for more when he deemed himself worthy of a congressional position? especially since as congressman, Pacquiao necessarily also speaks as national icon, as national pride. Pacquiao-the-boxer is not different from Pacquiao-the-congressman from Pacquiao-the-puppet.

you take pride in one, you are forced to be silent on another. you take pride in all of that, defend Pacquiao to the hilt, or fall silent, then the joke is on us. pride mo ang lolo mong panot.

Posted in: aktibismo, bayan, gobyerno, iconography, kalalakihan, komentaryo, media, middle class, pangyayari, pulitika, relihiyon

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3 Comments/Pingbacks

  1. ina
    May 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    hi celia! you know the more i think about it, the more i think that it was a mistake to invoke the idea of pro-choice vis a vis the RH Bill. because the prochoice-prolife dichotomy is something that’s about the abortion, which is not at all what’s in the RH Bill. we should’ve started fighting for the RH Bill on the level of women’s rights, maybe then we could begin discussions with less of the finger pointing and paranoia.

    and you are correct about the whole enterprise of Manny Pacquiao of course. :)

  2. Political Jaywalker
    May 24, 2011 at 8:10 am

    When Manny Pacquiao wore the yellow glove to symbolize his “noble” fight against poverty, someone forgot to tell him that the fight against poverty is not about beating the crap out of the poor people and women in particular by siding with the anti-poor masquerading as anti-RH Bill proponent.

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