by Charles Jay
The best story about this week’s Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez may be coming out of Manila, not Las Vegas.
Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank
On the wire services over there, it starts out like this:
“A Catholic archbishop has urged congressmen to watch the Manny Pacquiao fight at home instead of flying to Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend.”
Uh, with all due respect to the Lord thy God, I think it may be a little too late for that.
And therefore too late for temporary salvation.
The guys in the pulpit really needed to plan in advance. Unless somebody was looking to buy a plane ticket on short notice, or ride on one of their donors’ private aircraft, the horse has already left the barn.
And for those they couldn’t catch in time, the second commandment – thou shall not bet on the fight at a Las Vegas sportsbook – simply flies in the face of the nature of these politicians, or so I’m told.
As most people are aware, Pacquiao is one of those congressmen, so what it amounts to is that he’s simply got a number of colleagues showing up, which, to me, is not much different than if they showed up drunk on karaoke night to watch him sing (was that blasphemous?). The number the bishops are estimating is 26, although Pacquiao, in talking to a reporter remarked that it could be closer to 60, and joked that they could probably “do a roll call here” with all the politicos that are on the Strip this week.
Thank God (pardon the pun) Congress is not in session over there, or else it might look conspicuously like the U.S. House of Representatives.
I don’t want you to think I am insensitive to the whole thing. After all, aside from the fact that an elected official or two might put a few bucks down on their national hero, there is the matter as to who is paying for this road trip.
It is the concern of this Catholic bishop (whose name is Ramon Arguelles) that this excursion to Sin City might be coming courtesy of the taxpayers, and so there could be hell to pay (see, there I go again) when they get back.
Interviewed on television, he said, “Wag na lang pumunta para hindi magkaroon ng masamang kaisipan ang mga tao, ipinagpalagay na pera nila. Ang pera nila, pera din ng bayan eh,” I don’t know the language, but he might have just said “Sacre Bleu” and been more economical with words.
The idea that they’ll be helping the economy of the United States at the expense of the economy of the Philippines this weekend is one of those bizarre sidelights we often get during the pre-fight buildup.
Now let’s see – booze, broads, blackjack, poker, fight betting; all on the taxpayers’ tab, or better yet, financed by some “special interests” who will surely realize a return on that investment. These Congressman will have everything but a hospitality tent. And as long as someone else is paying for it, how about that SkyJump on top of the Stratosphere?
So what’s the problem?
Couldn’t they just write it off as one of those “fact-finding” trips?
Seriously, if I’m a man of the cloth, there’s really no use in sweating it.
You see, the nastiest things in any Catholic bishop’s imagination could go on there and they will never know about it.
Because – that’s right – whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Hasn’t that commercial run in the Philippines yet?