Athlete-politician Manny Pacquiao's latest ad for Hennessy, a popular and expensive cognac brand, has been met with mixed reactions, especially since it came out shortly after he proclaimed himself as ''a changed man'' - one who had already turned his back on vices, including cockfighting, drinking and womanizing.
The ad showed Pacquiao from when he was a young buy until he got older, running across fields, training, and eventually fighting on the ring. Toward the end, the following quote was shown: ''Fighting the fights that really matter. That's my 'Wild Rabbit.' - Congressman Manny Pacquiao.''
It was uploaded on April 11 by user mannypacquiaofficial on YouTube. Balitang America, on the other hand, reported on its website on Wednesday that the video is being aired mainly on digital screens in Times Square, New York, and is readily seen by thousands of locals and tourists each day. Pacquiao also appears on billboards relating to the campaign.
Balitang America noted that the Hennessy ad was more controversial compared to Pacquiao's numerous previous ads that were placed in Times Square. The show sought Filipinos residing on the US East Coast for comments.
East Brunswick, New Jersey resident Nora Sagad said, ''Napatunayan naman natin na he is a changed man, part lang naman 'yan ng trabaho, advertisement lang naman 'yun.''
Young Issalina Sagad echoed this sentiment, adding, ''Since he says he's a changed man, he's probably not drinking that thing, that liquor.''
Ruth Uchida believes that Pacquiao can't please everyone, ''[but] as long as [in] his personal life, pina-practice niya 'yung napag-aaralan niya sa Bible then I think that's what matters.''
Bernard Guerzon said, ''When you're gonna be in an alcohol ad, you're not being the best role model for everyone that looks up to [you].''
For his part, Pacquiao defended himself in an interview with ABS-CBN News on April 4, ''It's not about the alak; it's about inspiration on how to become successful.''
Balitang America also reported that there are critics who believe that ''Pacquiao's presidential ambitions could be the real motive for his new clean lifestyle - one reason why his decision to endorse alcohol is being seen as questionable.''
As of this writing, the Sarangani representative has yet to publicize his political plans amid rumors that he's running for senator next year. It may also be recalled that in September last year, Pacquiao told a Mexican radio station in an interview of his intention to leave boxing and run for vice president of the Philippines in 2016. He also declared last year his intention to run for the gubernatorial post in Sarangani next year.
Meanwhile, California-based Ron Vicencio questioned Pacquiao's declaration that he has already changed.
''Hindi ako naniniwala diyan... You have more money, there are more temptations, right? I don't know, it depends on the guy,'' he said.
New York resident Gerald Fernando opined, ''That's the one thing about celebrities, if they're going to change, it should be more in their actions, they don't have to be walking around with the Bible to reflect that they are a changed person.''