Did Noynoy Aquino beat Manny Pacquiao to the 3-pointer?
Malacañang announced on Sunday that President Noynoy Aquino was scheduled to meet with national treasure Manny Pacquiao on Monday (yesterday) “at 1 p.m.”
There was no word on what could be expected from the face-off between the two most important Filipino celebrities—P-Noy as internationally acclaimed anticorruption warrior; Pacquiao the hottest world boxing property to date.
Before the meeting was formalized, Pacquiao had been rumored as ready and willing to suit up for Kia Motors in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
In fact, there were reports Pacquiao would opt to wear jersey No. 17 (his birthdate) if and when the PBA stint for the reigning WBO welterweight champion materializes.
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It, indeed, would be a sure hit, a ready 3-pointer, if Pacquiao sets foot on the PBA hardwood, dribbles, zigzags and pulls up on a lefty jump shot.
Whether it would be a regular twinner or a net-ripping 3-pointer is beside the point. It sure would be a knockout, an anointment of sorts for the PBA.
Now, regarding 3-pointers, going by the quiet clamor out in our chaotic streets, the President would’ve had the chance to score a big basket for flag and country if he, at least, rewarded Pacquiao enough breathing room in his bout against the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which has levied a P2.2 billion tax deficit on the eight-division world title winner, in that scheduled meeting.
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No, this is not to suggest BIR commissioner Kim Henares had been too harsh, if not tyrannical, in her dealings with Pacquiao.
But it must be told here, as voiced by former national sports chief statistician Joseph Dumuk, that the people feel the tax efforts against Pacquiao were also heavily loaded with politics.
Take it from one who mingles with the hardy daily wage-earners, or members of their poor families out in the morning wet market: These people breathe, live, hope and dream Pacquiao day-in, day-out.
In fact, even the poorest of the poor among us, those who scratch barren earth daily for a living, feel Pacquiao had been treated like poor relations by the national tax authorities.
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(NOT AT FAULT: If Pacquiao had been caught in this vicious tax mess, it was not solely his fault. This was the view of this reporter, shared by veteran correspondent Jun Velasco of Dagupan and national cycling great Jesus “Jess” Garcia Jr. They swear that Pacquiao had allowed his top handlers, namely promoter Bob Arum and adviser Michael Koncz, to darkly meddle with his tax dealings in the United States, where the Filipino superhero ended up with a whooping $18-million tax shortage. Pacquiao had also allowed Arum to slur our tax officials about doing “the worst kind of politics” during a media exchange after it was reported that the IRS in the US had taken Pacquiao to task over enormous tax payment shortages. Jess, by the way, was among the fans who predicted early that the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley championship would go the full 12-round distance, with “Pacquiao a sure winner by unanimous decision.”)