While members of the Philippine Congress have grabbed headlines after impeaching Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez with an overwhelming 212 votes in favor as opposed to 46 against, Sarangani Representative and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao made headlines on his own despite being absent from the plenary session that lasted for nearly 8 hours on Monday.
Pacquiao did so when he posted on his Twitter account the following message:
@CongMP: I'm watching impeachment trial very interesting topic good night everyone thanks
Other netizens responded, Filipina blogger Noemi Dado was among the first and asked a question to the boxing champion and politician:
@momblogger: why are you not at the plenary? RT @CongMP: I'm watching impeachment trial very interesting topic good night everyone thanks
Then other netizens joined the conversation:
@nerveending: @momblogger If I remember right, @CongMP has a fight in a few weeks.
@MangBurns: @momblogger bawal mag puyat ang boxer. @CongMP
To which Noemi Dado responded with a follow-up question:
@momblogger; why now of all times though? recess will be over anyway RT @nerveending: I thought @CongMP was still training in Baguio.
While other netizens didn't hold back with their thoughts on Pacquiao's absence from Congress sessions:
@RAandRat: @nerveending to hell with @congmp. Why the fuck did you run for congress when you know you'd barely be present? @momblogger
@bethangsioco: @momblogger hay I've been harping on his long absences for d longest time. @RAndRat @nerveending @congmp
But when Manny Pacquiao himself answered the question, the whole thing turned into a PR disaster:
@CongMP: e di mag reklamo ka doon sa lolo mo hahahaha thanks
Surprised, Noemi Dado tried to clarify Pacquiao's tweet:
@momblogger: bitaw kinsang lolo? I want to see you in Congress. keep missing you for interview RT @CongMP: re di mag reklamo ka doon sa lolo mo hahahaha
But for others, it became the opportunity to give the boxing legend a one-two punch on how a public figure and servant should conduct himself publicly and online:
@mobilemaui: @momblogger Did Rep. Pacquiao tweeted you this?-”e di mag reklamo ka doon sa lolo mo hahahaha thanks” He should be cautious w/ his tweets
@randomsalt: You may be trying to folksy and humorous, @CongMP, but the matter at hand is too serious to be flippant about.
@RAandRat: @CongMP that's the best you can do? Taunt people who call you out for your failure to do your duties as a public servant?
@jesterinexile: @randomsalt because @CongMP is absent, saranggani province has no say in a national issue. that is irresponsible beyond belief.
@emvisi: @momblogger @RAndRat @mangburns insult or not, he should maintain the dignity of his office being a congressman. showed what he is made of
Manny Pacquiao then tried to shift the conversation back to the impeachment case and announced his stand:
@CongMP: I vote NO! and I can give my explanation thanks
However, Pacquiao must have realised then that it was too late because netizens are already flooding him with criticisms, that in his last tweet before the account itself was deleted, he bid farewell to micro-blogging:
@CongMP: Sorry everyone but hanggang dito nalang delete ko na account ko thank you very much to all your support
Jay Salazar writing at ProPinoy.net gives a succinct wrap up of Manny Pacquiao's abrupt departure from Twitter:
Precisely why he had refused to perform his sworn duty of representing his constituents and giving them a say on an issue of national importance is unclear—not to mention moot and academic. It may well be that he was training in Baguio, but Baguio is merely six to eight hours away from Metro Manila by land. What is certain is this: Pacquiao’s absence from the impeachment proceedings is utterly irresponsible, a fact that his inappropriately flippant—even scornful—tweets serve only to underscore, and which does not augur well for the rest of his political career. If the pugilist conceives of Twitter as an informal forum intended for casual banter, then, at the very least, he should consider restricting his updates to inconsequential banalities, instead of setting the stage for being remembered as a laughingstock of a solon.
Will the world's best ‘pound-for-pound’ fighter return to micro-blogging?