Pacquiao: How hard can being a senator be?
DAVAO CITY—Well, how hard can being a senator be?
He “can memorize biblical verses” so world boxing champ-turned-lawmaker Manny Pacquiao said “it won’t be difficult” at all.
Trying to appease critics who said he was “not fit for the Senate,” the boxer said he will learn the ropes on the job.
“I can memorize biblical verses so it won’t be difficult for me to do it,” the newly minted senator told reporters at Almendras gym, where he played basketball with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s aide Christopher Go, and several other personalities here.
Pacquiao maintained that he retired from boxing because he now had a bigger role in government and wanted to “fulfill the trust of the Filipino people.”
“I am happy with my retirement and my life,” he said, adding that his focus now was on his new responsibility so he still couldn’t tell if he would go back to the ring to fight Floyd Mayweather again.
At the very least, the boxer said he was aspiring for another gold—this time, on the attendance sheet.
Notorious for being chronically absent, the former Sarangani representative said he was targeting a 100-percent attendance now that he had become part of national politics.
So determined was he to meet this goal that Pacquiao said he even gave up his shot at the Olympics, declining the proposal for him to compete in the Rio Games in Brazil this August.
“If we can make perfect attendance, why not? That’s not a problem,” he said.
“That’s why I did not accept the Olympics (proposal). I’m excited to work (in the Senate)… and it would be a shame if in my first month in service, I’d disappear,” he added.
Pacquiao, who served two terms in the House, was elected senator with 16,050,546 votes. Of the 12 senatorial slots, the boxer won the seventh.
Apart from attending to his responsibilities as a senator, the world boxing champ has other commitments as a businessman, a pastor, a basketball coach, an actor, recording artist and international product endorser.
Support for Duterte
The 37-year-old lawmaker said he was interested in handling the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports, and hoped to pass legislation that would deal with poverty.
Pacquiao arrived here late Friday to meet with Duterte “to give him support and to play basketball,” he said.
The boxer, who ran as a candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), the political party of defeated presidential aspirant and Vice President Jejomar Binay, said he had always supported Duterte and was among those who pushed the Davao mayor to run for President.
“I was one of those who encouraged the mayor to run,” said Pacquiao, who maintains a house in Davao.
Duterte kept saying no, so he switched to the UNA camp, the boxer said. “Then after a month, (Duterte agreed to run) but by then I had already committed (to Binay). It would be embarrassing to turn my back on my decision. What I do is show that if you had already made a commitment, you don’t switch camps.”
Pacquiao admitted that he had not yet met with Duterte, whom he would “congratulate and assure of my support,” especially on the President-elect’s advocacy of the problem of illegal drugs that “can destroy our nation.”
The boxer added: “Whatever his decision, we will respect that. Because he is the authority.”