CALL this Round 2 of the Sen. Manny Pacquiao vs. President Duterte verbal joust. I call this the “truth hurts” match.
After Pacquiao criticized the President’s China policy, the senator proceeded with this administration’s effort, or lack of it, to curb graft and corruption in the bureaucracy. The issue was once more like a left hook to the face, catching the ire of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipinas or PDP leader, and Pacquiao’s superior in the administration party hierarchy. He told the senator to prove his claim that graft and corruption under this administration is worse than in the previous one, or else he would campaign against Pacquiao if he runs for President and call him a liar.
The split is just around the bend. And it would derail the Duterte camp’s plans for next year. Meanwhile, another presidential wannabe is being targeted by the Duterte camp. A recently arrested “troll” videoed his conversation with his “handler,” who instructed him to go after Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno. Both Pacquiao and Moreno rate high in surveys conducted by reputable firms. Interestingly, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte also rates high in surveys. Which only shows who the trolls want to be anointed as admin bet.
While Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has yet to go all out against Pacquiao, the trolls have been merciless in hitting the senator in social media. By the way, Pacman has a welterweight fight lined up against Errol Spence Jr. But it looks like the bigger bout would be against the President and his minions. And the champ seems ready for a slugfest, which is not surprising considering his nature. Opposition senator Franklin Drilon already predicted Pacquiao’s ouster from the PDP, of which he is a top-ranking official.
Expect the party then to be driven by the political ambitions of the personalities leading it. Among the ambitious being mentioned is Sen. Bong Go. To put it in Cebuano: “Monas ginhawa gani aron modaug pagkasenador, magpresidente na nuon.” But ambition does blind us from reality. Not one person who is running for a post next year believes that he or she will lose. If he or she eventually loses, he or she will claim he or she was cheated.
The reason why the leadership of the administration party is reluctant in kicking out Pacquiao despite his criticisms of government policy is resources. The fight with Spence alone can earn him billions of pesos. Money is also the reason why Pacquiao smells roses for campaigners nationwide. This is not about competence or intellectual prowess.
This is one of the reasons why we haven’t elected the best and the brightest to the presidency yet. The other reason is populism. More often than not, the best and the brightest among us are either not popular or do not have the resources. That is why the Duterte administration is reluctant to let go of Pacquiao even with the criticisms he hurled and even if the President already put to question his intellectual capacity.