MANILA, Philippines?Wait till he knocks out Floyd Mayweather Jr., then he?ll have more titles than the Queen of England.
As it is, with everybody?from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to an unheralded lawmaker?riding on his fame, Manny Pacquiao seems well on his way to outstripping any royal in public adulation.
Monday, the Pambansang Kamao (National Fist) was honored with three new titles.
Ms Arroyo designated Pacquiao as an ?ambassador for peace and understanding,? Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez named him ?special assistant to the secretary of justice on intelligence matters? and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino called him ?our Pambansang Hinlalaki.?
?Hinlalaki? is the Filipino word for thumb, which Palatino used as a title to signify the important role, he said, Pacquiao could play in encouraging the country?s new voters to register?as attested to by a thumbprint?for the May 2010 elections.
Noting that only 10 percent of the 1.9 million new voters (those who just turned 18) have registered, Palatino called on Pacquiao to appeal to them to sign up.
The lawmaker urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to tap Pacquiao and other prominent personalities in the get-out-and-register campaign.
?This would prove that Pacquiao is not just our Pambansang Kamao but also our Pambansang Hinlalaki,? Palatino said in a press conference.
Master Sergeant Pacquiao
Sharing in the Pacquiao limelight, Ms Arroyo conferred another title on the world?s best pound-for-pound fighter after welcoming him in Malacañang.
?Congratulations from a thankful Filipino nation,? she told Pacquiao in Filipino. ?You are now an ambassador for peace and understanding (sugo ng kapayapaan at pagkakaunawaan).?
Secretary Gonzalez wasn?t to be left out.
?In the interest of public service and pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, MSgt. Emmanuel Pacquiao is hereby designated as special assistant to the secretary of justice on intelligence matters,? Gonzalez said in a department order.
In his order, Gonzalez said that Pacquiao, a reservist in the Army, may coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation in connection with his new mandate.
Pacquiao may also perform other duties assigned to him by the justice secretary, Gonzalez said.
?This order takes effect immediately and shall remain in full force and effect,? he said in Department Order No. 344 dated May 8.
All but forgotten in the adulation was the swine flu virus A(H1N1) scare gripping many countries that forced the postponement of the official welcome for Pacquiao from Friday to Monday.
Pacquiao pulverized Britain?s Ricky Hatton in two rounds in Las Vegas, all but clearing the way for a possible match with the American Mayweather, a boxing legend of his own.
Roach not forgotten
At the House of Representatives, Laguna Rep. Edgar San Luis was inspired by a different idea.
He filed Resolution No. 1142 seeking to confer honorary Philippine citizenship on Pacquiao?s trainer Freddie Roach ?for his deep understanding of our people ? He has easily become a part of the local community.?
Based on the website of his boxing club, Wild Card in Hollywood, Roach has produced 17 world champions, including Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya. With reports from Norman Bordadora and Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.