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New arena: Boxing hero voice of everyman in senate.

Almost every time world boxing champ Manny Pacquiao walks into the Senate session hall, it seems like fight night.

A scrum of fans-students and longtime admirers who took a chance to see this homegrown hero-awaits him by the door, with a request for a selfie or autograph. The entourage remains, only this time, the coaching team has been replaced by his legislative staff.

In place of trunks, the man is impeccably dressed in either a well-tailored suit or an exquisitely made barong, especially embroidered with his 'MP' seal. In his ungloved hands, a folder.

The arena is the Philippine Senate. And the fight, as far as this high school dropout is concerned, is to prove that he deserves his new title.

Not a joke

'This job is not a joke. I am showing people that I can handle this job,' says the 37-year-old senator, the youngest in the 24-member chamber.

Skepticism met Pacquiao when he ran for the Senate,

criticized-even at times ridiculed-for his gall to seek an Upper House seat after his forgettable performance as a two-term Saranggani representative. His prior Congressional stint was memorable for only one thing: his absence.

But now the neophyte senator is often in the spotlight, with the eight-division world boxing champ seemingly out to prove that he's not just rolling with the punches.

Pacquiao, who attended a single session in the last Congress, promised to never miss one in the Senate-a vow that so far holds.

This even while he juggles his time between legislative work and training for his Nov. 5 comeback fight against WBO Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, announced in August after months of Pacquiao playing coy about his plans.


In a way, the first-term senator has emerged as the voice of Everyman in the chamber.

Just as he trains for hours in the gym for his bouts, Pacquiao apparently makes it a point to prepare for the daily tasks of a legislator.

'I review and research. I read the news and study the legalities (in issues),' he says, adding: 'In my entire term, I will do only what's right.'

On the eighth of the same month, Pacquiao, among President Duterte's allies in the Senate, delivered a privilege speech to push for the restoration of death penalty for drug dealers, invoking God as he quoted both the Bible and the Constitution to make his case.

Reviving the death penalty is among the President's top priority measures.

During the interpellation by his colleagues, he sprinkled his responses with levity in his simple prose.

Could the boxing champ be on his way to doing a knockout in the Senate as well?

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 9, 2016
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