BRAWN and brain brought Manny Pacquiao his eight-division world championships. But, it was more that drove him to become senator of the republic. His ascent to political power seemed heralded by a remarkably renewed life that challenged the veneer of his decadent past.
Pacquiao no longer relishes fame and fortune the way most politicians and celebrities do. When he started throwing his life away on gambling, heavy drinking and women, God had suddenly stepped in. He was soon preaching the Bible and leading people to accept Jesus Christ in their lives. Today, Pacquiao knows how it is to save your life and lose it, but has chosen to lose it to gain another life to nothing on earth can compare. This should be a revelation to all of us who behold the crisis frontliners giving up their lives one after another.
No politician consumed by a worldly life would be like Pacquiao and say that “he’s ready to die to help his countrymen fight COVID-19.” Watching videos of Pacquiao’s great fights with boxing champions of the world is still enthralling. The brawler figured in toe-to-toe exchanges in the ring that could be among the vicious slugfests in boxing history. Who could forget the likes Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, or Miguel Cotto? When he was knocked out cold by Marquez, his unbelieving countrymen had hoped against hope that the brutal sport had finished him – for his country and people.
Pacquiao has just donated 50,000 health kits and 700,000 face masks to the DOH. Short of calling out his fellow senators and cowering local government officials, Pacquiao declared that “if you’re a leader you have to be a frontliner.”
We are reminded of the true-to-life character portrayed by Mel Gibson in the war movie “We are Soldiers.” He was the battalion commander who led his men in the first major battle at the start of the Vietnam War where he lost more than half of his men. When he got home in the US, he was paralyzed by the reality that he was still alive and could not accept it. He told his wife, “I shouldn’t be here.” Faced with the dreaded prospect of death from the COVID-19, politicians and businessmen bound to hundred of millions in possessions and business investments know better than to be at the forefront of this war.
With little doubt, opposition lawmakers Rep.Carlos Zarate or Sen Riza Hontiveros would have met another fate if either of them had breached medical protocols at the Makati Medical Center. Malacañang would be the first to throw the book at them but now finds itself weighed down by prominent loyalist Sen Koko Pimentel’s brazen display of entitlement. High-level politics continues to preserve sickening patronage and openly defies the moral and social strictures that hold society together. Former Bulacan Governor Willie Villarama has advised Pimentel to ignore his sense of entitlement and just resign.
Clay Bentley would have died from the COVID-19 like the thousands who had been similarly afflicted. The 56-yer old American from Georgia felt he could not survive the pangs of the coronavirus as he lay in his hospital bed in pain and unable to breathe. At home, his prayerful wife, Suzy, was sure that he was going to be well. Bentley knew that his pneumonia was going to get worse before it got better. He loved singing, and he was part of the recent 100-person choir event at his church in Castersville, Georgia. On the second night at the hospital he felt a heavy pressure on his body and that “this man had breathed life into his chest.” He said, “God told me I would be healed, and instead of being fearful of the dire news everywhere, I felt love pored out for me and that things will be all right.” The next morning, the doctors found that fluids in his lungs had significantly decreased and he was back home after two days.