Onion-skinned: Pacquiao’s downfall

The heat must have become unbearable for Senator Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao.

With less than three weeks to go before his 12-round bout with American boxing champion Errol Spence, Jr., Pacquiao has found himself facing hostility at home.

In the years past, the last few weeks before Pacquiao went up the ring were invariably filled with excitement and anticipation, with the entire nation throwing its full support behind him.

It’s an entirely different story now. Hate is the overpowering emotion that millions of Filipinos are feeling towards him. No longer is he being seen as the national pride; more and more, Filipinos are deriding him, insulting him, even wishing him to be knocked out by Spence. He is becoming the national shame.

It all started when Pacquiao manifested his ambition to become President of the country Nothing wrong with that. But his world suddenly went upside down when he started to attack President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Pacquiao began talking of the President’s “weak” posture on the West Philippine Sea and unleashed charges of corruption that had doubled or tripled during this administration. He recklessly groped inside a beehive.

Pacquiao had over-estimated his own capabilities. He must have believed he had magical powers from his popularity as world boxing champion that could overturn the rock-sold support of Filipinos for President Duterte. At once, the warrior bees — Filipinos from all walks of life — swarmed all over Pacquiao, stinking him with their social media criticism and pummeling him from all directions. Pacquiao had never experienced such punishment in his entire career as a boxer.

The other day (August 3, 2021), his lawyer wrote a letter to the Philippine National Police (PNP) asking for help to identify the individuals behind what he described as “fake news” about the alleged misuse of public funds for the construction of a P3.5 billion sports center in Sarangani Province. The lawyer also sought help to pin down the people who supposedly disseminated a memorandum purportedly signed by Pacquiao directing the legal committee chairman of PDP-Laban to purge Secretary Al Cusi, Atty. Melvin Matibag and Astravel Pimentel-Naik. The signature was forged, the lawyer said.

This is ridiculous. Pacquiao is threatening to sue the people who have ganged up on him social media for allegedly posting fake news about him. All of a sudden, Pacquiao revealed that beneath his thick face hardened by countless jabs and hooks, he has onion skin. The Pacquiao who can endure powerful blows from champion boxers to become eight-division boxing champion has an Achilles heel: he cannot stand criticism, ridicule and insults.

Pacquiao wants to throw mud at the President and his top officials without basis, and here he is, crying foul that ordinary Filipinos are getting back at him with their own tiny fists in the form of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The big difference is that the issues against him are grounded upon facts. His ridiculous accusations against the Duterte government are baseless. And yet he has the temerity to threaten his critics with cyberlibel!

Unfortunately, this threat will not scare people in social media. Being “pikon” reveals Pacquiao’s vulnerability, and his critics will only strike harder and harder. He forgot the saying that “those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” at others. His over-arching ambition is what led him to this situation. There is no way out for him. His downfall is inevitable.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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