POSTSCRIPT / November 22, 2009 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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A plea for Pacquiao to retire as champion

CLARK FIELD : We add our voice to the entreaty of many concerned kababayan for our Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao to hang his gloves now and retire as undefeated world multi-champion.

The poor boy from Bukidnon who became a sensation by sweeping seven boxing crowns in as many weight divisions, the last one being the World Boxing Organization welterweight title, has nothing more to do to cement his niche in sports history.

Manny, don’t risk losing not only your crowns but also your head. Quit while ahead and in good physical condition — before something horrible breaks your winning streak. Lahat ay may katapusan.

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FIGHT FOR WHAT?: There is no good reason why Pacquiao should fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. — as being plotted by the big boys in Las Vegas who are salivating to continue cashing in on the Pinoy pug’s drawing power.

There is nothing else for Pacquiao to prove in the ring.

Why should he put everything on the line — including his health on which his dear friends and beloved family depend — by engaging in an unnecessary brawl with Mayweather?

For money? But Pacquiao already has more than enough earnings to ensure his family’s living in luxury. Just the interest alone on his boxing billions, plus his earnings from commercial endorsements and investments should be enough to guarantee that.

For fame and glory? He has reached the zenith that no boxer in sports history has scaled — capturing and dominating seven weight divisions in one-two-three Pacman staccato fashion.

For love of country? He has proved that already to a grateful nation and there is no need to bleed again reiterating it. If, as he often hints, he wants to detour to public service, maybe that is the better route upon retirement.

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SPORTS CZAR: But, with due respect, I dare say that Pacquiao is not prepared for lawmaking, the core job of a congressman that he is being tempted to be. He should not add to the colony of misfits infesting the House of Representatives.

The Congress is not the only staging ground for anyone who sincerely wants to help his fellow Filipinos. With his varied talents, Pacquiao can help this country and its poor citizens in other ways.

Without straying from the field that he knows best, he can embark on a well-focused nationwide sports program in his name or that of his family — and without any politician tagging along.

There are many areas he can explore. Right off, we can suggest his putting up health clubs and training centers where youths who show promise can train into becoming another Pacquiao. He can sponsor a similar program for the armed forces.

From that springboard, he could be the godfather of Philippine boxing to help ensure the unfading global glory of Filipino fighters. He could be the coach emeritus of Filipino Olympic boxers.

This should be more rewarding and more comfortable for Pacquiao than being a politician or a congressman splashing around with crocodiles.

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RETURN BOUT: Picking up an old line of mine, I want to see a make-or-break return bout in May 2010 between Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio and former provincial board member Lilia Pineda whom he defeated with a slim 1,147-vote lead in 2007.

Or we can make that a three-corner contest by inserting a Lapid — not ex-governor Mark Lapid (who is now boss of the Philippine Tourism Authority) but his father Sen. Lito Lapid (who is being goaded by administration strategists to run for the Senate again).

The idea is to put a closure to the big question of who is the genuine choice of the cabalen for governor. With everybody closely watching, the May elections should be fair and square — with no room for doubt.

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RUSH HEARINGS: Pineda, who is the wife of Bong Pineda of jueteng fame, is leading Panlilio in the recount that the Commission on Elections seems bent on deciding before Christmas.

Most realists in the province expect Pineda to emerge winner in the recount. But Panlilio, who has gained allies by joining the Liberal Party of the Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas team, may not be that easy to push aside.

Panlilio’s lawyers vow to challenge Pineda’s moves at every turn at the Comelec and all the way to the Supreme Court. The idea is to prevent her swearing in as governor before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy.

Their theory is that the moment she files a CoC during the pendency of the protest, that act would amount to abandoning her case.

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NO ABANDONMENT: This non-lawyer thinks, however, that Pineda can file a CoC before the deadline, while her protest is pending, without necessarily abandoning her complaint.

If she runs for governor, she will just be running for the same position that she contends in her protest as legally hers. She will not be abandoning any position, because she will not be running for another office. In effect, she will just be running for reelection.

The protest of Sen. Loren Legarda, who protested the election in 2004 of Vice President Noli de Castro, is different.

When in the middle of the protest hearings, Legarda ran for senator (and eventually won) in the intervening election of 2007, she in effect abandoned her protest and her quest for the vice presidency.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of November 22, 2009)

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