Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Written by Gail Ilagan / MindaNews

DAVAO CITY -- "Malaki na raw ang pinagbago ng akusado sa Subic rape case na si Daniel Smith…" said the idiot in the box. She goes on to report that Smith now has a Filipino spiritual adviser. Put together two and two, and may the force be with you. Barf. The idiot hopes perhaps that her patter would make you miss asking the obvious: "Bakit kaya kinailangan ni Smith magbago?"

I wonder why when the networks report on the Subic rape case, they first report about the Americans before they report about the Nicole. Even on Philippine TV, the lady is put on the defensive with the billing she gets. The Americans, on the other hand, are getting good advice on playing up to a home crowd that does not hold judgment in abeyance until the other party has had her say.

It's sickening to watch how many among us succumb to this play on colonial mentality. It's expected of the American's lawyers to give the kind of advice that would increase the chances of the accused to look innocent. But watching players from the religious and the media institutions getting suckered is – oh, I guess that's expected, too. Disappointing, but what else is new?

I wonder just how "spiritual" (in the Filipino sense of the word) Smith would be if he does get acquitted. Would he turn the other cheek? Chalk it up to a difference in opinion? Or would he turn around with a whopping countersuit? You really wanna know how I'm betting on this?

Spiritual, my foot.

I don't really want to talk about Smith. Or about his boss, the family man, the model soldier. Yeah, yeah, yackety-yak he goes. Leave that to the idiots in the box who go gaga over a Caucasian looking face.

I want to talk about Manny Pacquiao. Man, he was lethal. And he got there by being a good student. See what warrior science can do.

Pacquiao always had talent. It's heartening to see that now he has accepted that it takes more than talent. Watching him prepare for his fight with Morales, I was struck by his single-minded focus. It's a wonder why Morales did not see that.

On the eve of that fateful bout, El Terrible dismissed Pacquiao as the same boxer he had always been. He said Pacquiao had no new moves, no new strategies – yeah, even accounting for the pre-bout strutting, it seems impossible that Morales could not have seen Roach's training direction and how adeptly Pacquiao was taking to it.

So Pacquiao goes into that first round in Condition Red with a warrior mantra playing in his head: "In and out". Short and simple. And that's what he did exactly. Morales, on the other hand, goes in tentatively feeling the water and ends up floundering on the wave of punches that he could not ride out. The guy should go home and watch Naruto. Chakra is everything. And one must have a battle plan.

That smile did it, I think. Remember Morales' smile as he entered that arena? He was just too relaxed. Meanwhile, Pacquiao was still sparring with Roach as Sarah "Geromino" belted out the Philippine National Anthem. So Pacquiao comes into the first round up and running. Morales, on the other hand, was just getting warmed up after singing along to his national anthem. The poor guy. He couldn't switch rhythms to get into the beat of the punches. It just wasn't his night. For a terrible moment there, he was five years old again, hurting bad, and looking for his father.

I like Morales. I suspect Pacquiao likes him, too. At least, he was someone to beat. But now that he's beaten, who would take on Pacquiao?

Anyway, I like Morales because (1) he respects his father and (2) he's time and again showed that he is a gentleman – gracious in defeat, ever polite, and yes, nationalistic.

I wish I could say the same of the Pacman.

Don't get me wrong, I think Pacquiao means it when he says "para sa 'yo ang laban na 'to". He's a good student. All good students seek approval. Sometimes they seek approval from the God. That's okay, the world forgives them.

Don't look now, but back home, nobody laughs anymore at Visayan-accented Tagalog. Pacquiao has dignified what used to be stuff for slapstick comedy made in Quezon City.

So I hope Pacquiao would take my advice and speak in Visayan the next time he has to address the world. You want to really dignify your people, Manny, speak your language and put your mother tongue on the map. Whatever language you speak, the world will listen because you are the Pacman.

Heck, they listened to Morales, didn't they? And didn't you beat Morales so soundly and so decisively that all he wants to do now is to go home?

It's not the world's approval you seek anymore, Manny Pacquiao. The world is at your feet.

Besides, your mug gets more airtime when the world has to pause for the translation. Give a fellow Visayan gainful employment.

It's a beautiful mug, Manny. So Filipino.

Long may you live!

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