On the day before the May 13 elections, The Manila Times learned of an incident involving Manny Pacquiao. What happened was so newsworthy that we used it as our banner story the next day.
The ‘Pambansang Kamao’ or National Fist allegedly beat up a barangay captain, who had tried to stop the boxer and his entourage from breaking an election law.
The barangay official had the marks on his body and face to prove that someone had given him a sound beating. To this day, he insists it was the champ who inflicted the most harm.
Surprisingly, media did not report the incident except to air Pacquiao’s denials. The re-elected congressman claimed that he had only gotten involved because he tried to play the role of a peacemaker.
Thus far, a full police report of the incident has not been made available to the public.
What’s most disturbing is that parties reportedly close to Pacman have allegedly moved mountains to make sure that only the champ’s side of the story comes out.
His accuser now fears for his life. No doubt Pacquiao is now one of the most powerful congressmen in the land by virtue of his being the sole billionaire in the House of Representatives.
Pacman has always come across as a people’s champ. He is well liked because of his public persona as a perpetually smiling athlete who is nearly unstoppable in the ring.
For better or worse, Pacman is considered some kind of national hero. At the very least, he is looked up to by millions of Filipinos for his achievements as a prize fighter, but the jury is still out on whether he is a good lawmaker or not.
The one thing that Pacquiao cannot afford to push people around, one who uses his celebrity status to bully a low-ranking government official who is just doing his job.
Perhaps he and his accuser should face the public together to clear the air once and for all.
If Manny Pacquiao committed a serious breach of good behavior in the heat of the campaign, he may be forgiven by the public. If, on the other hand, he caused serious harm with his fists—considered lethal weapons by law—then he should be man enough to face the consequences.
He owes his constituents and the Filipino people nothing less.