Wenceslao: Isko and Manny

·3 min read

TWO presidential bets are currently wooing people’s votes using their poor origins. Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso talked about how he went as far as scavenging garbage to survive. We already heard about how Manny Pacquiao survived a sorry life by climbing the ring. Frankly, I was initially in awe of the two bets’ life stories. That got me into thinking that ordinary people can really become a player in bourgeois politics. Until I got deeper into their unique career paths and how far they are now from where they started. Becoming a Moreno or a Pacquiao is an impossible dream for the rest of us.

Isko is no longer poor. Discovered when he was a teenager by the late starmaker German Moreno obviously for his good looks, Isko first hitched his star on showbiz until politics pulled him away from it. He was both ambitious and a fast learner and eventually outfoxed the veteran politicians like former President Joseph Estrada who used him as a prop to advance their local political careers. Now Isko is being used by wealthy interests who want to become Malacañang influence-peddlers if he wins the presidency.

Manny took a somewhat circuitous and difficult path. He first became an international boxing legend who earned billions of dollars before throwing his hat in the ring. He is rich. And despite his meager educational background, he thought he could be a President. I say his “we bulong” brigade is bigger than that of Isko. Compared with Isko, though, he is but a political baby.

But both of them are biting more than they can chew. While they can be proud of their poor origins, they unconsciously exposed their limitations as far as the presidency is concerned. They may have the intellect but corrupt and veteran politicians can run rings around them. Even President Rodrigo Duterte, a lawyer, former prosecutor and mayor could not stop the questionable Pharmally transactions and the dubious sale of the shares of the Malampaya oil field to a crony company.

Consider that the next President is expected to steer us away from the economic morass that the pandemic and years of mismanagement have pushed us into. That’s arguably a rather tall order for minds not trained for the complexity of national governance. Mere honest intention is not enough.

Which reminds me of the challenges the late Cory Aquino faced after the Marcos dictatorship fell. Years of plunder and institutional destruction made it difficult for Cory to right all the wrongs Marcos did. In a way, former senator Antonio Trillanes was right. The Duterte administration is a child of the Marcos brand of governance.

Can Isko and Manny be the President the country desperately needs in 2022? I don’t think so. And they should stop using their poor origins for publicity because that only exposes their limitations. It was precisely because they were poor that they were not educated and prepared well for the complexities of national governance.

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