HOW MUCH has the controversy over his incomplete tax records affected Manny Pacquiao, both here and abroad?
“Floyd Mayweather Jr. has put an end to Pacquiao’s stranglehold in the Ring magazine’s Best Fighter Poll,” reporter Nick Giongco bared yesterday. “In the Ring’s May 2012 issue, Mayweather emerged as top vote-getter from the majority of 10 fight scribes polled by editor in chief Michael Rosenthal.”
Mayweather got 5.5 first-place votes, Pacquiao received 3.5.
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Did the tax controversy, which was also played out in foreign media, affect Pacquiao’s stature?
There was no reply from Giongco at presstime.
Of course, it will affect Pacquiao, advised the scholarly Tony Bulatao, self-taught sociologist and favorite nephew of the unsinkable Fortunato Abat, retired Armed Forces chief of staff.
Not only that, Bulatao added, it is inevitable that Pacquiao would be compared to Chief Justice Renato Corona.
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How and why? Do you think his demotion in the Ring Best Fighter Poll is akin to an impeachment?
“Just like Corona, Pacquiao readily cried harassment,” Bulatao explained.
But their cases are completely different.
“Yes, the BIR only wanted to compare notes with him on his tax records,” the sidestreet scholar explained, “but it was Pacquiao himself who blew it up.”
“He challenged the BIR to a court slug-out.”
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Well, Pacquiao has every reason to react belligerently.
“Of course, the exchange between him and the BIR chief was nothing short of damaging.”
What do you mean?
“It has divided people, those who think he should be given due respect and those who swear there should be no exception when it comes to public accountability.”
Compared to Corona, do you mean that, in case of a public survey, Pacquiao’s trust rating would also drop?
“Maybe not, but who can tell?”
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Anyway, Giongco also noted that Pacquiao had topped the same poll for three straight years (2008 to 2010) but gave way to Mayweather in 2011. The survey was participated in by a select group composed of Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Ron Borges of Boston Herald, Gunnar Meinhardt of DieWelt (Germany), Gary Poole (Time International) Norm Rosenheim (Ring contributor), Keith Idec (The Record and Herald New of New Jersey), Harry Pratt of Daily Star (Britain), Rick Reeno of boxingscene, Don Rafael ESPN.com, and Giongco himself (Manila Bulletin).
Here at home, several colleagues in Congress readily gathered around Pacquiao.
Sen. Joker Arroyo, who said Pacquiao did not sign the impeachment complaint against Corona, decried the “timing and manner” of the BIR investigation of the boxing superhero.
Explained Malacañang: “There are certain documents that the (BIR Mindanao) regional office is asking for, but the lawyers and staff of Congressman Pacquiao have not complied with. There’s nothing more to it.”
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The odd thing is that the controversy heightened almost immediately after Pacquiao’s solemn claim that he had talked to God in a dream.
After that dream dialogue with his Creator, Pacquiao also said he was looking forward to retiring ahead of schedule.
It was not easy to explain. But it could be that the New Manny Pacquiao, as the national treasure had described himself, suffered another off-night—just like what happened in his last bout with Juan Manuel Marquez—in that clash with the BIR.
Maybe it was all the fault of his lawyers, says the battle-scarred police colonel Pat Piñol in Kidapawan.
“Pacquiao definitely has good intentions, but he’s only human.”