Drilon schools Pacquiao on ‘very basic’ principles

Camille Elemia
Drilon schools Pacquiao on ‘very basic’ principles
(UPDATED) 'The answer is off-tangent,' says Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon after neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao responds to one of his questions

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon lectured neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao on “basic” principles in the Senate.

This came after Pacquiao insisted on the 2nd day of their debate the need for a Philippine Boxing Commission (PBC) – an idea Drilon opposes as the existing Games and Amusements Board (GAB) can instead be strengthened.

Drilon asked Pacquiao why he wants the proposed PBC placed under the supervision of the Office of the President (OP).

Pacquiao, in response, said that since the PBC head would be appointed by the President, it should be placed under the OP – a point Drilon dismissed.

“For the best interest of the commission,” the boxer-turned-senator said.

A confused Drilon replied: “You know I hope I can convince the gentleman from General Santos that the mere fact that a government official is appointed by the President is not a justification for the Office of the President’s direct supervision over a commission or agency. That’s very basic.”

“The President is the appointing authority, he appoints everybody in this bureaucracy,” he added.

Citing his experience as executive secretary under the administration of Corazon Aquino, Drilon said the OP is already spreading itself too thin.

“I had the fortune of being an executive secretary in the Office of the President and you can imagine the number of agencies under the OP. So that what happens, because of the sheer number of agencies under the Office of the President, they are like flying saucers just revolving around, nobody supervising them because the executive secretary simply cannot supervise them,” Drilon said.

With Drilon’s questions, a seemingly irked Pacquiao told the veteran senator: “If the senator cannot be convinced to create a Philippine Boxing Commission, I am ready to close this. We can do the voting.”

But Drilon immediately retorted: “Mr. President, in the tradition of the Senate, there is no closure rule. Is the gentleman saying that we are now terminating the period of interpellations when we are just on page 2 of the bill?”

“It’s a comment, it’s not a motion,” Pacquiao clarified.

More questions

Pacquiao insisted that the creation of a PBC would not overlap with the GAB, contrary to Drilon’s views.

Since the 1st round of their debate, Pacquiao has kept on saying he knows the need for a PBC as he is a boxer.

Drilon, a veteran lawmaker, replied: “Yes, I may not understand boxing in the manner that the gentleman understands it, but certainly we understand what government is all about.”

“I cannot understand how the creation of a separate boxing commission will save lives,” Drilon added.

Pacquiao then questioned Drilon’s “common sense.”

“To focus [on] one sport is not easy – it’s easy to say but it’s not easy to do, especially GAB is handling more than 20 sports. How can you focus [on] one sport? We have common sense to understand that,” Pacquiao said.

To which Drilon replied, “I have common sense.” Pacquiao then apologized. 

At one point, Drilon also asked Pacquiao why boxing is an industry, as reflected in the bill’s title.

Pacquiao replied, “It’s a big business.”

Drilon then said, “If it’s a business, then why are we using public funds?”

Pacquiao responded that the proposed commission seeks to collect licensing and medical fees, among others.

To which Drilon said: “The answer is off-tangent.”

Drilon requested that the session be suspended to give way for other measures to be discussed on the last session day. Congress will resume session on May 2. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com