8 most familiar athletes-turned-politicians
Barry Viloria on Nov 18, 2015 02:32 PM
There are a lot of former sportsmen we know who eventually became public servants. Here are the most popular of 'em (Photo courtesy of Francis Zamora)
It’s fairly a trend. There are a lot of athletes and coaches, too, who—like celebrities represented most notably by Alma Moreno, who dreamily blanked in a recent TV interview where she was asked about her senatorial plans—have ventured into politics. We have no idea about the crossover, but maybe we can blame bodybuilder-actor who became California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, for this movement? (He was hailed champions among the sports and LGBT sectors in his terms, though!) Anyway, as local politics gets dirty again in time for #eleksyon2016, we give you a review of some sportsmen we became too familiar with in jerseys, eventually deciding to put that barong on and serve something bigger than sports and their squads.
1. Robert Jaworski, Sr.
Marked with a stellar playing career spread across the UAAP, the PBA, and the Olympics plus significant coaching credentials mainly for Ginebra, Philippine basketball’s Living Legend also emerged champion in the 1998 senatorial results—ranking ninth in the votes. He headed the Economic Affairs, Trade and Commerce Committee of the Upper House while in the Senate. Hoping for a reelection, though, the Hall-of-Famer lost in the vote that followed. He was prided for his laws on, well, environment protection. (Photo courtesy of the Senate Electoral Tribunal)
2. Yoyong Martirez
Martirez can be the older version of Benjie Paras, you know, a champion player who inevitably becomes the resident bald-headed comic relief on the screen. Yoyong played for Royal Tru-Orange that then became San Miguel Beer. He also represented the country in the Summer Olympics in 1972. His PBA career spanned 10 seasons (his record of steals was at 753!), retiring in 1984. He was elected Pasig City mayor’s office in 2007, and then councilor in 2013 until present. (Photo courtesy of TV5's No Harm No Foul)
3. Manny Pacquiao
Ah, of course. At first, many weren’t thrilled of the idea of Pacman getting into politics—but it panned out for the better on his part over time. Failing for a congressional seat to represent the 1st District of South Cotabato in 2007, he would later run for congress in 2010. He won a congressional seat representing the lone district of Sarangani from where his wife Jinkee grew up. Unopposed three years later, he was reelected. He recently announced his bid to run for Senate under the opposition, United Nationalist Alliance or UNA. He said it’s his mighty plan, retiring after more than two decades in pugilism all while ignoring criticisms on his background and, well, diction. Yet again, voters a.k.a. fans of the People's Champ might be a little more forgiving.
4. Monsour del Rosario
Del Rosario is credited as one of the first Filipino taekwondo Olympians. His matinee idol face also gave him a sure shot in showbiz. And then there’s his incumbent position as a city councilor in Makati. His endeavors as the incumbent councilor mainly leaned towards his forte: sports and youth, health and fitness. (Photo from Del Rosario's website)
5. Franz Pumaren
Pumaren, champion player-turned-coach for La Salle and a distinguished national basketball team member, served as city councilor for the 3rd district of Quezon City thrice before running for Congress and eventually losing the race. As a councilor, his name was glittered with three Most Outstanding City Councilor honors (after championing actions on health, fitness, education, etc.), perhaps matching his impressive basketball resumé. (Photo courtesy of the Quezon City Council)
6-7 Freddie and Jason Webb
Here’s a like-father-like-son story: Freddie was a baller at Letran and a coach before entering politics as councilor then senator. Jason played for La Salle in the UAAP and later Sta. Lucia and Tanduay in the PBA, before running for public office. Like his dad, the younger Webb had a strong appeal among the people in Parañaque that he was elected councilor in the first district of the city—thrice. He is recently back to coaching, having nabbed the head coach post of the Star Hotshots in the PBA.
8. Francis Zamora
Armed with a Masters degree in Public Administration from UP Diliman, this former DLSU Green Archers team captain—who led them to a back-to-back championship—later ventured into politics. In 2007, he was voted city councilor of San Juan, and, in 2010, leveled up as the city’s vice mayor. Zamora, like any Filipino baller, might have dreamt first of the PBA but has since followed in the footsteps of his dad Ronny, who previously served as congressman for San Juan. Judging from his very active social media accounts, he seems keen about his political plans—he’s now running for mayor and was vocal about ending the Estrada-Ejercito “dynasty” in the city.