The 8th time world boxing champion is now referred to as Lieutenant Colonel Manny Pacquiao as a reserve officer of the Philippine Army.
Pacquiao jumped 5 ranks from being a master sergeant to being a Lieutenant Colonel. He jumped 5 ranks skipping being a chief master sergeant, second lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain and major.
The order came from Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. after he signed Pacquiao’s commissioned papers.
Having the position as a Lieutenant Colonel, Pacquiao can now lead a battalion in the army, in case of national emergencies. In addition, even Major Harold Cabunoc, the Philippine army spokesperson now has to salute Lt. Col. Pacquiao.
“Being an elected official at ang karangalan na ibinigay ni Pacman sa buong bansa, at of course sa Army, parang hindi sapat na siya lang ay isang senior master sergeant,” said Cabunoc.
But the Philippine law states otherwise. Republic Act 7077 states that any elected official can have a rank of an officer in the reservist force of the Armed forces of the Philippines if the candidate had finished any college degree.
Pacquiao hasn’t finished his studies yet and only has an honorary doctorate degree in Humanities in South Western University. But for the Philippine Army, they are honoring Pacquiao’s honorary doctorate degree.
But according to defense and security expert Dr. Clarita Carlos, an honorary degree and Pacquiao’s being a world champion is not enough to be a commissioned officer of the Philippine Army.
“An honorary degree as the term suggests, honorary. It does not confer skills, knowledge and competencies. Kaya nga honorary, binibigay sa iyo ng hindi ka naghirap e,” said Carlos.
“Hindi maganda ito. Bakit? Dahil mayroon kang national champion? That’s the problem with us. Ang sense of proportion natin, sobrang baluktot,” she added.
Lt. Col. Pacquiao now has the same rank of Sen. Loren Legarda, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and former Sen. Dick Gordon, who are also army reservist officers of the Philippine Army.