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Senator Pacquiao’s juggling act

/ 04:41 AM October 01, 2016

There’s a new juggler in town and only time will tell how long his act could last in the frenetic worlds of politics and sports.

And Sen. Manny Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, is turning out to be quite a sensation.

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He is earning plaudits in the most exclusive club in the islands for his common-sense queries during a recent hearing of the justice and human rights panel.

The Pacman also courted controversy for his motion, eventually voted 16-4 by himself and colleagues, to oust the committee’s chair, Sen. Leila de Lima.

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He readily agreed with fellow members of the super majority that De Lima—while questioning a self-confessed assassin who implicated President Duterte in extra judicial killings while mayor of Davao City—has ruined the country’s worldwide reputation.

The boxer is settling in well as senator of the realm and appears happy with his job.

He does not need any more media mileage and yet Pacquiao in action on the Senate floor is on local television, on YouTube, on Facebook, all over the Internet.

But a day in his life as a senator has changed since deciding to return to the ring to challenge unheralded American Jessie Vargas for the WBO welterweight belt in Las Vegas on Nov. 5.

And the Vargas fight won’t be a one-shot deal either, since Pacquiao’s 15-year coach and trainer Freddie Roach is saying his ward can still box at an elite level because he looks fiercer than usual.

So how will the senator pull off a double life, and not run the risk of being a parliamentary no-show again, starting with his preparation for Vargas? It is in the congressional record books that until his short-lived retirement, Pacquiao was chronically absent as a congressman from Sarangani.

“The key is discipline and time management,” says Aquiles Zonio, Pacquiao’s Senate press aide and staunchest ally.

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The boxer’s daily routine starts with jogging in the morning, attending marathon sessions and hearings until 3 p.m. and going up to his office to sign papers and receive a variety of visitors—constituents, dignitaries and sports personalities.

Zonio says the Pacman does his homework and receives regular briefings from his chief of staff and legislative officer.

“At the hearings and sessions, the boss has no pretensions. He speaks through his heart and mind,” according to Zonio.

From work, the senator goes to the gym for rigorous mental and physical training.

Pacquiao wants to lead a new life as an elected official. His priority this time around is his Senate duties, says his trusted lieutenant. “He does not want to sacrifice his legislative duties.

Team Pacquiao will fly to Los Angeles on Oct. 22 to wind up training at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.

His purse for his forthcoming fight is unknown. If you believe Zonio, the whole point of Pacquiao’s comeback against Vargas is not so much to make money but to chase history.

“Once he succeeds in dethroning Vargas, Pacquiao will be the first senator to win a world title,” Zonio says. “No other human being has ever achieved this feat.”

After the bout at the Thomas and Mack Center in Vegas Nov. 5, the senator, win or lose, will fly back to Manila the next day.

The Senate will be on recess from Oct. 19 to Nov. 7.

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TAGS: Boxing, Politics, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Sports
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