With the application of his new local political party, People’s Champ Movement, pending before the Comelec, Emmanuel Dapigran Pacquiao positioned himself to run in the 2010 local elections. According to various stories, he may either run as a congressman or governor in Sarangani province. Sarangani is adjacent to General Santos City, a chartered city which witnessed the losing bid of Pacquiao in the last 2007 congressional elections.
The questions may well be asked again: Will Pacquiao win? Can his boxing fame be translated to a plausible victory?
It is a fact that Pacquiao has been bitten by the political bug. However, given his background, it is also safe to say that the ones who bit him are actually his politician pals.
In the 2007 elections, the single lesson he should have learned is that popularity in a non-political field is not anymore automatically translatable into electoral victory, particularly when you are pitted against an entrenched political dynasty. His own fans and neighbors in GenSan rebuked his political ambitions even as they rooted for him in boxing.
This time around–if Pacquiao really wants to make a serious bid–he should start thinking of voters as constituents and not as fans. He should also start training for leadership and for the job he wants to have. Ironically, to be a politician, he cannot but leave his boxing image behind.
Otherwise, people may just think they are being taken for a ride by Pacquiao. Worse, they may think he is being taken for a ride by those who stand to get his campaign money. Worst, the people will conclude that, by electing Manny Pacquiao, they are electing the trapos around him–enough reason to vote him down and preserve their boxing hero from the ravages of dirty politics.