Sunday, April 11, 2010

Planting Seeds of Doubt

Back in January, perhaps the biggest boxing match of the decade was all but set. There were no problems with the venue, the catch weight, the date and the purse split. The Floyd Mayweather- Manny Pacquiao match was all but signed.

But then, the negotiations were brought to a standstill, because the Mayweather camp insisted on random blood testing. They pushed for the drug testing because they thought Pacquiao couldn't have demolished his past opponents so easily without the help of performance-enhancing drugs.

The Pacquiao camp cried foul. They were adamant that Pacquiao should not be subjected to drug testing outside the Nevada state-sanctioned requirements. There was no reason for Pacquiao to undergo additional testing, he was never caught of using illegal substance from all his previous fights.

But it didn't matter by then. The seeds of doubt have already been planted. While many supporters backed Pacquiao's stance, there was arguably an equal number of doubters who said that if Pacquiao wasn't hiding something, then he should not be afraid of undergoing blood testing. Whatever the case, the Filipino's reputation has been tarnished. There will always be an asterisk after his name, all because of the accusation.

An eerie parallel has cropped up in the local political scene. A document has popped up alleging that Noynoy Aquino is insane (or mentally imbalanced, or whatever the term PC people call such a condition nowadays).

The Aquino camp cried foul. The document is a fake, they said (the blogger who first released the document had since deleted his blog). There is no reason to suppose that the presidential candidate is suffering from some mental infirmity.

But then, the seeds of doubt have already been planted. Tina Monzon-Palma of ABS-CBN (the news org that first leaked the news) suggested that if Aquino isn't hiding something, then he should undergo psychiatric tests. This call was echoed by his main rival in the surveys.

Aquino is now in a quandary. Should he or should he not take the psychiatric tests? If he is truly sane, then there is no reason not to take the test. But should he succumb to pressure and take the test anyway? All because of a baseless accusation?

There are baseless accusations and accusations founded on a nugget of truth. There is a world of difference between an accusation out of thin air and an accusation corroborated by evidence (or at the very least, conjectures). The accusation on Aquino falls in the first category.

I don't see any reason why people would think he has a psychological problem. After all, we see Aquino everyday on the news, with nary a shred of insanity. He may be eccentric, yes. But all people have some certain quirks and eccentricities.

I think Aquino can be aloof sometimes, which is somewhat of an abnormality among ever-smiling politicians. However, that reason alone will not suffice to doubt his lucidity. I actually find it refreshing to see politicians without the fake smile plastered on their face.

And one thing I am sure of: at least he is not suffering from megalomania, unlike many political aspirants out there.

Photo: David Midgly, Flickr, Creative Commons

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