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Friday, February 21, 2020
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By Rene Saguisag

On Tuesday, President Cory Aquino left for the US to be formally honored by Time as one of Asia’s 60 Heroes. I presume that Eggie Apostol and Letty Magsanoc will also be there, who were not silent or silenced during the dictatorship, true heroes. Finally, we have Efren “Bata” Reyes, the tooth-less, bath-less wonder, no less a hero.

They edify and inspire as role models in a country where one is otherwise tempted to ask: “What else is not a mess?”

Last week I bumped into Go Teng Kok in Century Park and Cynthia Carrion in Starbucks. Both had lamentations about the sports scene today. Don’t we all?

GTK in particular wants to fix the problem in pool. But, Onnie Alcano just won. Bata, Django, et al. shine. What then is wrong; if it ain’t broke what is there to fix? (Full disclosure: Ernie Fajardo and I married first cousins.) But, I am prepared to listen. I asked GTK if it was true he had bought Century Park from El Kapitan (Tycoon Lucio Tan). He quickly said, “kalahati lang.” I have to love this guy, with a sense of humor, and rumor. Ingat, GTK, kung hindi, lagot tayo sa asawa ko. Of course, Kapitan these days is more linked to Geny Lopez, another Bedan of the Century (HS, ’46) who truly suffered during the martial law years and deserves recognition. No one questions why we honor Manny Pacquiao.

But, the Atienzas were a pathetic spectacle in trying to demonstrate that they own one who in fact belongs to the people. The national treasure is not only for Manila where the Atienzas are struggling to keep the mayoralty.

Instead of spreading cheer, they (and Chavit Singson) tried to monopolize the event, in debatable taste. With Manny were Mayor Tolits Atienza, his son, Ali, and son-in-law, Miles Roces. Meaning, there was not only one fornicator in the group? Role models indeed going around Manila—and only in Manila—during that sorry motorcade. Mga sakim ang dating.

I winced a bit too that Manny tried to be cute and insulted tricycle drivers. Last Saturday evening, I took a cab home. The driver spoke good English. He retired as a Marines major and had finished college. But there was dignity in his toil. He groused that he should have earned 3,000 after 14 hours on the road, not only 2,000. I hope Manny has a higher respect for cab drivers. But, what’s wrong with being a driver of anything?

Certainly, Manny Pacquiao is a big man now. But, he should not talk mighty big. He should remain humble and not insult those he may have left behind. If he becomes vice mayor, who is the Atienzas’ dream, how would he preside during sessions? What about his training regimen? He should not let things go into his noggin, which keeps getting knocked about in the manly art of modified murder. Last Sunday, this paper’s editorial said Manny could run for the presidency and win. Luckily, at 27, the earliest he can be old enough to gun for the post is in 2022. We should not go overboard.

Meantime, Manny, a former bakery assistant, should not disrespect tricycle drivers, who can in fact strengthen their legs in their calling. I am sure Manny meant no offense but he should be more careful next time. Heroes should reduce their tragic flaws.

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Today’s Front Page February 21, 2020

Today’s Front Page February 21, 2020