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Howie Severino

Pacquiao's lesson to politicians

December 17, 2008 11:33am
Rather than pay cheap lip service to our own golden boy, Filipino politicians should take to heart the real lesson of Pacquiao's triumph: the sweetest victory is achieved honestly.

One headline claimed that Pacquiao's historic victory over the heavily favored Oscar De La Hoya showed the heart of the Filipino. Let's not get carried away -- our champion might have demonstrated the heart of some Filipinos, but certainly not all. And certainly not those seen hanging around the champ in Las Vegas and claiming they were there to inspire him to victory.

By taking on and defeating the bigger and more celebrated "golden boy" of boxing, what the Pacman really showed is that a Filipino can win by being disciplined, smart and honest. That's harder than it sounds, because all around us is incompetence and dishonesty, most infamously in the field of politics and governance.



With the same long odds against the champ, one could have imagined his compatriots in other fields succumbing to the temptation of underhanded tactics (like those overaged youth baseball players from a decade ago or a certain political candidate with the gall to call an election official many times and deny it was cheating). But no, that rare underdog status was the Pacman's motivation to work his butt off, block out distractions, and listen to good advice. In the end, with a dubious weigh-in, the surprisingly underweight De La Hoya became the object of suspicion and not his Filipino opponent.

Really, our own golden boy credits prayer way too much, as if his Mexican-American Catholic opponent was lacking in the prayer department. Praying is what too many of us do already rather than the more difficult tasks of preparation.

Nope, Pacquiao's edge was in old-fashioned hard work and clever strategy. He and his trainer studied their adversary and devised a plan that they executed with ferocious efficiency.

How I wish those police operatives in Paranaque did the same last week when they caught wind of a pending robbery and sloppily executed an operation that left several civilians dead, including a father and his young daughter.

All of us, including those policemen, should ask ourselves when faced with a tough challenge: What would Pacquiao do?

If this unique individual is to make any difference at all in the nation's worst of times, we should learn the real lesson of his example -- whether it's in boxing, politics, police operations, or the daily struggle to overcome poverty, victory requires sacrifice, preparation, and cleverness... and it's not a real victory if it's not achieved honestly.