House colleagues frown on Pacquiao as PBA coach
MANILA, Philippines–House leaders are not celebrating the foray into professional basketball of one of their colleagues, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, saying Pacquiao’s boxing career, his core competency, and legislative work, his official preoccupation, are likely to suffer.
Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, who used to be one of Pacquiao’s personal advisers in the last decade, said his former ward was allowing himself to be used by other people with vested interests.
“I believe that Manny is making a big mistake in joining the PBA. It also shows how seriously he is treating his duties as a congressman and as a boxer. He says he will fight this November and yet he will start coaching in the PBA in October. Where are his priorities? Too bad, he does not know when he is being used by other people,” Atienza said.
Only Kia gains
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said he was disappointed that Pacquiao decided to venture into another demanding and competitive field. “I don’t think this will be good for his work as a boxer and as a congressman because these two alone require his full attention,” Belmonte said.
Deputy Speaker Carlos Padilla said only the PBA team, owned by South Korean car maker Kia, stood to gain from Pacquiao’s newest sideline.
“It is good for Kia as it will benefit from the popularity of Pacman (Pacquiao) but it is not good for boxing and Congress. With his coaching job, there is less time for legislation and [this] also might distract his focus on boxing,” Padilla said.
Atienza said Pacquiao was already having a difficult time juggling his duties as a lawmaker and boxer based on his poor attendance record and on his ring record—two losses in four bouts in two years.
Pacquiao, a two-term lawmaker, is the richest member of Congress and its most habitual absentee having been present only in 108 days, or 64 percent, of 168 session days in the 15th Congress from July 2010 to June 2013.
Pacquiao lost to Timothy Bradley in June 2012 and Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012. “I always believe that Manny can be a good boxer and a good legislator but not at the same time,” Atienza said.