A new arena awaits the best boxer Asia has ever known, as Manny Pacquiao was officially proclaimed Senator-elect by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at a ceremony in Manila today.
Check out this link to video: http://news.abs-cbn.com/video/sports/05/19/16/watch-pacquiao-proclaimed-senator?)
Manny, who retired from the sport with a 58-6-2 mark after beating Tim Bradley on April 9, snagged over 16 million votes. That was good for seventh place in the national election. The top-12 vote getters were elected to the Senate. The victory seems to mean the door is closed on a ring return for the devoutly fundamentalist Christian. His poll numbers took a hit after he slapped at gays, but enough of the masses forgave his statements.
Below, comments from the 37 year old Pacquiao:
“Several months ago, we mounted a campaign to heed the call for help from the poor and downtrodden Filipino masses. We went out and joined them in their homes and places of work, we listened to their longings and assured them that a new beginning is coming.
“Over the past week, we heard those same voices strongly during the recent national electoral process. The message was very clear: Filipinos want their government back in the hands of the ordinary people. They want a new set of leaders who would stand up for their aspirations and share their goals.
“For that reason alone, I accept the challenge with utmost humility and gratitude. For the millions of common folks who believe in my capacity to put into words what they cannot express; to champion the causes closest to their hearts; and to serve them in a higher and greater platform, you have just won a seat in the Senate.
“My dearest kababayans, the victory is really yours.
“I want to reiterate what I have been telling my countrymen from the mountain ranges in Luzon, to the coastal towns of Visayas, to the riverside settlements of Mindanao: I will not let you down. I will not steal from you. I will not fail you. Rest assured I do everything for God and our country.”
My take: You'll note his quite forward promise to the nation, that he won't steal, which speaks to the perception there that too many pols take office and then help themselves to goodies. So, his actions and behavior will be under massive scrutiny.
As for the fighting side of his life, he fits the same mold as just about any other fighter: retirement for boxers can really be termed “hiatus” later and later, into their 40s and even beyond. I wouldn't make a big bet that Pacquiao would not at some juncture return to lace up the gloves. Then again, if his political aspirations are as described, and he wants to keep ascending up the ladder, to the presidency, he may plain be just too busy to multi task politics and prize fighting.
Regardless…we wish the man well at an endeavor of greater import and potential impact than in his role as prizefighter.