Pacquiao isn’t a thief like P-Noy

By Alex P. Vidal

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”—Noel Coward

IF Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao will win as president, he will not steal, according to his mother, Mommy Dionisa.

“Totoong matatakutin. Hindi magnanakaw ang aking anak. Tinuruan ko syang wag makialam kahit piso,” Mommy D said during her son’s recent proclamation rally in his bailiwick, Gen. Santos City, as quoted in the Philippine press.

We agree with Mommy D. In our short list, the 42-year-old former world boxing champion is one of the only three presidential candidates who might resist the temptations to steal from the government.

Like the late former President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III, Pacquiao is not a thief.

Based on his humble background before seriously embarking on a life-threatening sports career since he was 16, Pacquiao would be an ideal but not necessarily competent president.

What he lacks in intellect, Pacquiao compensates with a good heart, sincerity and, perhaps, honesty.

We’re not saying that the other remaining presidential candidates are not honest. We always declare that no one walks a saint in public service.

“Might resist” is different from being honest.


If Diogenes of Sinope were alive today, he would be frustrated if he carried the lamp during the day looking for an honest presidential candidate or any public servant for that matter.

Mommy D’s worries that her son’s spending during the campaign might drain his resources are, of course, valid.

Pacquiao’s wealth came from his multimillion-dollar purses as a former 8-time world champion in eight different divisions, not from the real estate or industrial investments.

He is a retired boxer who struggled and absorbed physical punishments for a living for years, not a business mogul.

Unless he will fight again and risk his life as an aging fighter, he can’t instantly recover all his political expenses—win or lose.

In a presidential campaign, a P500 million kitty is like a drop in the bucket.

In fact, based on studies, a serious presidential candidate in the Philippines needs at least P5 billion in his war chest to mount a nationwide campaign that will last for three months.

If we consider Pacquiao’s numbers in the surveys, Mommy D has all the reason to worry. Money, after all, doesn’t grow on trees.


Another email from New York Governor Kathy Hochul:  Alex, I want to give you an update on our progress in the pandemic and the blueprint for moving forward. Our overall cases, positivity rate, and hospitalizations are down, while our hospital capacity, vaccination rates and booster rates are up.

Back on January 9, the peak of the winter surge, there were nearly 382 cases per 100,000 people. Today, there were under 31 cases per 100,000 people — among the lowest in the nation.

The numbers are clear — we are seeing major improvement on the key metrics we’ve been tracking throughout this pandemic.

We are not where we were in early December, and I want to thank New Yorkers for doing the right thing to help us get through this winter surge.

But make no mistake about it: This pandemic is not over. Our fight against COVID-19 continues, and I’ve put together a five-point toolkit that ensures we keep New Yorkers safe and plan for the future, including a first-in-the-nation effort to help those experiencing long-term effects from COVID.

We’re moving in the right direction and our winter toolkit lays out our path forward.

Given the rapid decline of cases and hospitalizations, we are now lifting the statewide mask-or-vaccine requirement for indoor businesses starting today, February 10. Counties, cities and businesses can still choose to require masks.

The mask requirement remains in effect statewide for specific settings like health care facilities, nursing homes, and schools.

We’re continuing to track many key metrics and to take steps to keep kids safe, including sending every K-12 student home with two COVID tests ahead of the Midwinter break.

I’ll continue looking closely at the numbers and working with education partners, and I will make an assessment on school masking in early March.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)