When people saw Manny Pacquiao having made it to the top 12 senatorial candidates for the 2016 elections, a lot of eyebrows raised for one common reason, as they believe – he is not qualified for the position.
But let us just review first the qualifications for membership in the Senate. As expressly stated in Section 3, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution,
1) No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, 2) is at least thirty-five years of age, 3) able to read and write, 4) a registered voter, and 5) a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.
Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is no doubt, a natural-born citizen. He is 37 years old, able to read and write, definitely a registered voter, and have lived in the Philippines all his life. Now, who’s saying he is not qualified? As what the constitution says, he is 100% eligible to run for the position.
Pacquiao’s critics and online bashers say he is not qualified to be a member of the senate because of his absences in the congress despite knowing the reason. We all know that Manny Pacquiao is a World Boxing Champion and is even considered as one of the greatest boxers of all time, with his career path almost parallel to Muhammad Ali’s. Sadly, this is also the reason why people criticize him getting a higher position. He is just a boxer. Well, this is mainly because these people are not well-informed or at least because the media never really laid emphasis on his congressional career.
Aside from the fact that he is one of the biggest taxpayers in the country, just so the people know, Congressman Manny Pacquiao has authored several bills. He lodged House Bill 59, which seeks to provide comprehensive health care benefits, an alternative livelihood program, a system of life insurance, and reliable death benefits for Filipino boxers. In addition, his House Bill No. 57 seeks revision of the Philippine Sports Commission Act (Republic Act No. 6847). He also filed House Bill No. 58, which will require each barangay in Sarangani to have a community health center. He expressed a great concern to the women’s health and filed House Bill No. 61 so that every region will have a breast care center. In total, Pacquiao has authored 15 House Bills in his two terms as a member of congress. Unfortunately, none has passed any of the committees they have been referred to.
But still, who are we to judge him for being “uneducated” (as what most of his critics say)? It is not unknown to us that he has helped a lot of people through his charity works and programs. We all thanked him for giving millions of donations to the Typhoon Yolanda victims, not counting the $2.5 million donated to his foundation by an international non-profit group. And that, my friends, is just one of the many reasons people voted for him.
People are questioning his capacity to become a senator just because his educational background is not as stunning as theirs. Let me tell you this. There’s more to leadership and public service than just being educated. Having a heart and the determination to help your fellowmen live a better life is more important nowadays. His not being able to meet your so-called “standards” doesn’t make him less of a person or a public servant. We all witnessed how crooked our government officials have become. Politicians, legislators who are expected to follow and uphold our laws seem to have forgotten the essence of making them. Thanks to President Rodrigo Duterte who is now fighting hard for us and for ensuring clean governance in his term. Hopefully, the Philippines can finally step down from being one the most corrupt countries in the world. Manny Pacquiao would have been one of his senatorial lineup if he hadn’t said yes to Binay first.
And to answer the loudest question on social media about the senatorial race results,
“Who could be those stupid people that voted for Manny Pacquiao and put him in the 7th place?”
It is the common people living a not-so-fortunate life majority of which are probably the Typhoon Yolanda victims in Tacloban, Samar, and Leyte. The fishermen, the farmers and their families, the indigenous people, the athletes whose rights he’s been fighting hard for, the people who experienced his generosity, and the ordinary citizens living in rural areas who have no access to the Internet. The remote places in which the media and the influence of television don’t usually reach, the Emilio Aguinaldos in the lowest class of our oppressive society; the same society that says those who voted for Manny Pacquiao are stupid.
These are the kinds of people who voted for the “People’s Champ”.
Who are we to judge?