POSTSCRIPT / July 4, 2017 / Tuesday


Opinion Columnist

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Let it go, Manny, drop rematch idea

FILIPINO politicos never lose fights, they are just cheated of victory.

“I wuz robbed!” a badly battered Senator Manny Pacquiao complained Sunday when his WBO welterweight belt was snatched by Aussie virtual unknown Jeff Horn in a bloody 12-rounder in Brisbane.

Limping home with a $10 million purse, the senator may not care anymore that the winner was actually promoter Bob Arum, who looked pleased seeing 51,000+ fans pay good money to watch the fight at the Suncorp stadium and thousands more on pay-TV networks.

To corner more millions, a rematch clause had been inserted in Pacquiao’s contract to fight Horn, a school teacher who the Ginsan pug never heard of until the challenger was mentioned to him.

Before he suffers brain damage or is debilitated like all-time great Mohammad Ali, Pacquiao should heed the plea of family, friends and sympathizers not to be dazzled by more millions that a return bout promises.

Their age difference alone should make our Pambansang Kamao think. He is 38 years old versus Horn’s 29. The Battle of Brisbane showed how slower our hero has become. It was only in the 9th round that he flashed the speed and power of a champion.

Pacquiao’s late rally, however, was not enough to reverse the unanimous decision emerging for the Australian who was a constantly moving target performing such tricks as catching his opponent’s head in his armpit while pummeling his ears and kidney areas.

We agree with Pacquiao’s wife Jinky when she said she would not want her husband to fight again. The same sentiment was expressed by his long-time trainer Freddie Roach, who is familiar with what his protégé can do and not do.

Pacquiao better quit and enjoy his billions even as the Bureau of Internal Revenue has been chasing him for more than P1 billion in alleged tax deficiencies.

It was not a good idea in the first place for the boxer to have exploited his popularity to win a key national position (if not the presidency, because he did not meet the minimum age requirement, a Senate seat na lang muna).

On top of his problem of lacking preparation for the duties of a legislator, Pacquiao also has to train for his boxing bouts. He may have piled up millions from both preoccupations, but there is a limit to what money can buy.

For his own sake and that of his family, senator Pacquiao should seriously consider retiring from the ring. Drop the idea of a return bout with Horn.

 Time for one-year audit of Duterte

AS WE pause to assess the first year of the administration of President Duterte, we are disturbed by the fact that we seem to have forgotten how to converse properly and discern. It has thus become difficult to build consensus.

Something is amiss. We try to exalt the nation, but sink it with disjointed discourse. Our officials preach unity, yet their rhetoric foments hate and divides the nation. Our leaders reach out to the world, and end up antagonizing friends and allies.

We now text instead of talk. We are surrounded by modern devices of communication, but fail to hear in good faith and refuse to listen to others.

While social media have multiplied the reach and influence of information outlets, their credibility is being compromised by bloggers hiding behind aliases while dishing out false facts and malicious messages. Trolls are unleashed to distort and falsify public opinion.

Politicians resort to diatribe rather than engage in dialogue. When officials who make misleading pronouncements are caught, rather than apologize and make amends, they merely gloss over their reckless statement or dismiss it as a joke.

Days ago, a senator filed a bill seeking to punish purveyors of “fake news,” but his measure failed to define “fake news.” To onion-skinned officials, fake news is any report about them that they do not relish.

That sounds Trumpish, but the Donald himself who rails against fake news in his tweets also resorts to disinformation. It was disclosed last week that in several of his resorts and offices, Trump had displayed a fake Time magazine cover with his face on it.

Reminds us of another fake Time cover splashed on the front page of a major Philippine daily (not the Star), featuring then President Noynoy Aquino as one of 100 world leaders acclaimed by the magazine in 2013.

• Accountability enhances credibility

HAVING an editor did not save the broadsheet from the embarrassing fumble. This should be noted by Malacañang’s communications office which has assigned editors to one of its officials on the belief that the spreading of false information in that official’s blog will stop.

The value of a news report or a commentary, whether in social or in mainstream media, rests on the credibility of whoever is publishing the item – and the accountability that goes with it.

News has social value only in so far as it is believed. Credibility is enhanced where there is accountability, when the public is able to pin the item to a credible source or somebody who will stand by what is reported.

That somebody is either an identifiable person or an institution whose reputation has been established over time.

A decline in the credibility of social media has been noticed of late, because of the proliferation of fake news and malicious disinformation – many times compounded by lack of accountability or the absence of a credible person/entity that can guarantee the truthfulness of the report.

Accountability is beclouded when malicious or derogatory items are planted in social media by individuals hiding behind cryptic usernames. While the account can be traced eventually – after causing damage – it takes time and resources to track down the culprit.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 4, 2017)

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