REMEMBER when nearly everyone wanted basketball legend Ambrosio Padilla to turn into politics and serve the country?
If movie/TV stars and other celebrity candidates who have more IG and Twitter followers than anybody else can run, why not accomplished athletes and officials.
After all, they have the same, if not more, odds of winning as the so-called trapos (traditional politicians).
And the Filipino voters would be okay with it, right?
Before becoming a senator, Padilla was widely considered as one of the country’s top basketball players.
Padilla was team captain of the Philippine team which finished fifth in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Before that, he played for the country which won the gold medal in the 1930 and 1934 Far Eastern Games.
He served as president of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (PAAF), the forerunner of the Philippine Olympic Committee in 1970 and became the first president of the POC when PAAF was renamed POC in 1975.
He was elected as Senator in 1957 and served until 1972.
Well, there were many athletes and officials who followed Padilla’s path from sports to politics.
Sens. Robert Jaworski and Freddie Webb come to mind.
Next year’s national and local elections are no different with a long list of athletes joining the fray.
The biggest name of them all is boxing legend Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who is running for president.
The 42-year-old champion, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and Senate in 2016, retired from boxing to pursue the highest position in the land.
Pacquiao will vie for the presidency against opponents as tough and as experienced as Floyd Maywearher, Oscar dela Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales and Timothy Bradley.
Senate President Tito Sotto is running as Vice President.
An avid bowler, Sotto represented the country several times at the AMF World Cup. Presently, he is also the chairman of the Philippine Bowling Federation (PBF).
Also vying as VP are Sen. Bong Go and Dr. Willie Ong, who are.avid basketball and tennis players even before joining politics.
Running as senators are national arnis federation president Juan Miguel Zubiri and former national taekwondo champion Monsour del Rosario.
Also in the running are:
— Richard Gomez, former national team fencing gold medalist and current Ormoc City mayor who is bidding to become congressman of Leyte.
–Franz Pumaren, former PBA player-coach, who is running for congressman of 3rd District of Quezon City.
— Manny Lopez, former president of Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP), who is running for reelection as congressman in Tondo, Manila.
–Mikee Romeo, former national team polo player and current House Deputy Speaker, who is running for congress as nominee of 1-Pacman party list.
— Michelle Gumabao, volleyball player who is running for congress as nominee of Mothers For Change (MOCHA) party list.
— Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president and congressman of 8th District of Cavite, who is running for mayor of Tagaytay City.
— Alvin Patrimonio, four-time PBA Most Valuable Player and current Magnolia Hotshots team manager, who is running for mayor of Cainta, Rizal.
— Vergel Meneses, former PBA MVP and current Bulakan, Bulacan mayor, who is seeking reelection.
–Francis Zamora, former UAAP basketball player and current San Juan mayor who is gunning for reelection.
— Johnny Tam, former FedEx-Air 21 coach-player, who is running as mayor of Paete, Laguna.
— Dodot Jaworski, former PBA player who is running for vice mayor of Pasig City.
— Philip Cezar, PBA legend, who is running as vice mayor of San Juan.
–Binky Favis, former PBA coach and current Parañaque City councilor, who is running for vice mayor.
— Buboy Fernandez, boxing trainer and current Polangui, Albay vice mayor, who is running for reelection.
— Ato Agustin, former PBA MVP and current San Miguel Beer assistant coach, who is running for councilor of San Fernando City, Pampanga.
— James Yap, former PBA MVP, who is running for councilor of 1st District of San Juan City.
— Gary David, forme rPBA player who is running as councilor in Dinalupihan, Bataan.
–Paul Artadi, former PBA player and current councilor of 1st District of San Juan City, who is running for reelection.
— Don Allado, former PBA player, who is running for councilor of 2nd District of San Juan City.
— Elvis Tolentino, player-coach of St. Benilde and Philippine Christian University, who is running for reelection as councilor in Marikina.
— Ervic Vijandre, former MPBL player, who is running for councilor of 1st District of San Juan.
— Charo Soriano, a national volleyball player and founder of Beach Volleyball Republic, who is running for councilor of Tuguegarao City.
–Community Basketball Association (CBA) founder Derlyn Maceda, who is running as Board Member in Cavite City. Derlyn is the wife of actor-sportsman Carlo Maceda.
NOTES — Congratulations to my first apo, Apollo Nathaniel, who formally joined the Christian World last Saturday, Oct. 9 at the St. Peter’s Church in Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City. Nathan, is the son of Homer Padilla and my daughter Steffi.
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