Recently, people have been praising Senator Manny Pacquiao for being quick to gather donations for our COVID-19 frontliners. In fact, one article even said he was “becoming the senator we need him to be.”
While it is true that his deeds are commendable, we have to get something straight – to be charitable and to be a good public official are two different things.
Okay, sure, he has donated. But that’s not exactly what we ask from a senator. You don’t have to be a senator to have “ultra-rich” acquaintances like Jack Ma to get help from. Any person of high influence can ask for the same help, and the only difference was that Pacquiao had the will to do it while other personalities didn’t. (READ: Jack Ma to donate 50,000 coronavirus testing kits to Philippines)
By saying that he is doing great as a senator because he is helpful and keeps a “cool head” in such trying times, just proves that there really is a misconception about the roles of our national leaders. To be clear, a senator’s task is to create effective legislation, so that is what Senator Manny has to do before we can regard him as “the senator we need him to be.”
But that can only happen if he actually attended more Senate sessions.
And let’s not forget his problematic stances on various key issues in the country. We want a senator who is pro-people, but have his questionable opinions changed yet? Nope. He is still for the death penalty. He still refuses to acknowledge the rights of vulnerable sectors like women and the LGBTQ+. He remains mum on Duterte’s drug war, which continues to kill poor Filipinos. In that regard, he is definitely not the senator we need him to be. (READ: Pacquiao: Couples in same-sex unions ‘worse than animals’)
This is what happens when we choose to set aside our real expectations of national leaders and instead just approve of their stunts and charitable deeds. The tendency is that we will always end up settling for these things instead of truly scrutinizing their actions as public officials, of checking whether or not they’re really worthy of their monthly pay.
We aren’t discrediting Pacquiao’s charitable deeds. But anyone can do charitable deeds. Non-political celebrities and organizations have done really charitable things too. What happened is that we have blurred the line between being a benefactor and being a legislator, so much so that we have forgotten the difference between the two. (READ: FALSE: Pacquiao was ‘only senator’ who responded to coronavirus crisis)
This is exactly the reason why Pacquiao should be better appreciated as a philanthropist. And I’d rather he just stay a philanthropist, because the job of a senator entails being much more than that.
Nonetheless, we still have to thank him for the donations. People really need it, most especially since our President is nowhere to be found. – Rappler.com
Japheth Tobias is a Communication graduate from the University of the Philippines. He is a digital content creator by day, and a keyboard warrior by night.
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