Monday, November 30, 2009

The Evil of GMA's Congressional Bid

Post-presidential involvement in politics is not something new. We know, for example, that the late Coazon Aquino continued to involve herself in politics long after she ceased being president, as did Fidel Ramos and Joseph "Erap" Estrada. In the US, from which we copied our presidential system of government, many former US Presidents continued to be active in politics long after they have stepped down from office.

It is also not a new phenomenon for a former president to run for or be appointed to a public office after completing his term. John Quincy Adams, after serving as the 6th president of the US, was elected as a member of the US House of Representatives. Now contrary to what the critics say, this would not necessarily cheapen or demean the presidency. John Quincy Adams's incumbency as congressman for 17 years was served well in championing civil and political rights that eventually led to the removal of the prohibition on introducing legislations against slavery.

Of course GMA's candidacy for Congress is unprecedented in the Philippines. What leaves a bad taste in the mouth about it, as described by Sen. Chiz Escudero, has something to do less with demeaning the presidency than with GMA's nine years of presidency being characterized by corruption and abuse of power, and a nagging question about the legitimacy of her ascendancy to power. During her incumbency, GMA's admininstration has been beset by scandal after scandal, such as the $329-million NBN-ZTE broadband network deal, $14-million IMPSA power plant project, P728-million feritlizer fund scam, P321-million Jose Pidal accounts, and, not least of all, the "Hello Garci" scandal - our very own version of Watergate which should have brought down GMA's presidency as it did Nixon's. To this day, however, not one has been put behind bars despite these egregious scandals of brobdingnagian proportion.

The opposition have raised fears of GMA manuevering her way into power again in running for a congressional seat. The theories range from her gaining the House Speakership, directing a charter change toward a parliamentary government that would make her prime minister, to acquiring immunity from prosecution. But the message that should be stressed is the evil of electing someone whose governance has been tainted with corruption, official wrongdoing, scandals, abuses of power and electoral fraud.

To be sure, GMA being back at the helm is a distasteful proposition. Reprehensible even. But for now this is conjectural and may not happen at all. The opposition should come out strong and emphasize the evils that lurked under GMA's tenure in decrying her return to politics, instead of harping on conjectures about her return odyssey to power. While it is true that none of the charges against GMA have yet been proven - at least in a court of law - there is no denying, however, that these scandals and official malfeasances did take place. And they took place under her watch, which speaks volumes about her competence and effectiveness as a leader. Even worse, the public have yet to see the hand of the law reaching the guilty, while GMA thwarted, under the guise of executive privilege, every effort to bring to light the facts and circumstances surrounding these scandals.

The candidacy of GMA will ultimately be a referendum on her presidency. Her election as a Pampanga representative come May 2010 will put a stamp of approval on all that she represented under her nine years of incumbency as president - something every PampangueƱo should seriously ponder before doing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pacquiao Makes History

Manny Pacquiao made history by defeating Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto on Saturday through a technical knockout (TKO) on the 12th round. Starting his professional boxing career at the flyweight level at 106 pounds, Pacquiao has defied conventional wisdom by moving up through six weight categories, victory after victory. Instead of weakening as he increased his weight (latest is 144 pounds), he proved even faster and a more skillful fighter. With his defeat of Cotto, Pacquiao now holds his seventh title.

If his critics weren't convinced of his abilities in his bouts with Diaz, Dela Hoya and Hatton, this time around Pacquiao's victory against Cotto leaves no room for equivocation. Cotto was a natural welterweight, holds height and age advantage over Pacquiao, is known for his power punches, and holds an impressive record (only one loss and ending most of his victories in knockouts). Saturday night's match proved that Pacquiao is truly a skillful, fast, powerful and strong fighter. To Cotto's amazement, Pacquiao landed punches after punches without him seeing - punches that knocked him twice, bloodied and bruised his face, and would have sent him on the canvass for a final knockout had not the referee stopped the fight on the 12th and final round.

Pacquiao also proved that he can take punches. Although Cotto landed a many good punches, jabs that jerked back Pacquiao's head several times, Pacquiao remained unperturbed and continued landing his firepower on the weary Puerto Rican, whose only move at the later rounds was to finish standing by running away from Pacquiao's fury - that is, until the disappointed Pacquiao caught up with him and delivered his final pounding.

Now that Pacquiao has shown who the true pound-for-pound king is, an ultimate match with undefeated Floyd Mayweather looms next year. It is reported that any time this week talks will be arranged between the fighters' promoters for this much-awaited fight. Assuming Mayweather doesn't become greedy and does not spoil (or perhaps avoid) the match-up by demanding an unreasonable sum, will that mean Pacquiao will have to temporarily shelve his political ambitions, considering that next year will be election year?

If this dream match unfolds, Pacquiao will definitely need all the time to concentrate on his training and preparation. The last thing Freddie Roach needs - and Pacquiao even more - is a boxer who will need to attend to his constituents' needs as he prepares for a big fight - probably the biggest fight of his career.