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1Pacman’s practical piggyback ride

09:34 PM May 27, 2016

If you ask me, I’d say that 1Pacman’s triumph in the last elections was the upshot of a successful piggyback ride.
Cleverly named for the ring moniker of Manny Pacquiao, the sectoral faction finished in the top five of only 46 groups that earned the privilege to fill 59 seats reserved for party-list lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
1Pacman obviously attracted voters because of the magnetic forcefield and clout of the real Pacman, the iconic ring hero who himself is among the five newcomers in the slate of 12 winners of the last senatorial race. This scenario, coupled with 1Pacman’s bankroll spelled success in the polls.
Pulling off a surprise win in its first try in the party-list derby, 1Pacman (One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals) won two seats, soon to be filled by sportsmen—billionaire Mikee Romero and Erick Pineda, who is incidentally Pacquiao’s business manager.
Romero owns the GlobalPort Batang Pier franchise in the Philippine Basketball Association. The businessman chairs GlobalPort 900, the company that controls Manila North Harbor Port, Inc. Pineda is team manager of the PBA team Mahindra Enforcer.
Both are non-marginalized individuals who now could represent marginalized persons based on a Supreme Court ruling.
Originally meant to give relegated sectors a sporting chance at winning elective posts, the party-list system has fallen to “sheer perversion,” says a political analyst, and has become simply a tool for traditional politicians, members of powerful political clans and rich individuals to get into Congress.
1Pacman, whose activism centers on the creation of a Department of Sports, also adheres to the motherhood statement of giving jobs to the poor.
Romero has been in a celebratory mood since his sectoral group received the third highest number of votes in the party-list elections with 1,367,795. He told the Inquirer recently that voters “banked on the track record that I did in my business.”
We wondered if Romero would bring his business activism to Congress, that despite wearing a number of corporate hats, he would be an active, not a truant congressman.
We wanted to know how 1Pacman would pursue its main advocacy—to create the country’s first-ever Cabinet-level sports department.
We were also eager to hear his plans for athletes beyond the thunder of his press releases.
But Romero declined our request for a chat through a confidante, who blew us off politely.
* * *
Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, a familiar figure in the sports community, is the new Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
Piñol’s friends had speculated that incoming President Rodrigo Duterte would name the ex-North Cotabato governor press secretary or presidential spokesperson.
The former sports commentator and broadcaster has always been a gentleman farmer, planting organic rice, corn and vegetables and raising free-range chicken and hybrid goats and sheep, reports Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo.
A pillar in Mayor Digong’s early run for the presidency, Piñol was not heard much in the thick of the campaign.
“Where is Manny Piñol,” we queried after the elections. “Andyan, mas lalong lumiit sa pangagampanya,” (He’s around, but he grew even smaller from campaigning), jested Tulfo about his compadre.
The diminutive Piñol, who stands barely five feet, has since emerged from the smoke of the ferocious political battle as Duterte’s alter ego in the DA.

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