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By Manny Piñol
Sun, 07 Feb 2010

I never realized that the World Anti-Doping Agency which a certain David Howman reportedly heads was a debating club that bases its conclusions on logical deductions rather than scientific examination.

If Howman was quoted correctly as saying that since Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao refuses the idea of blood testing for drugs so close to his aborted fight with Flord Mayweather Jr. ergo he is a cheater, then he has not only shamed himself as a supposed scientist but also embarassed the agency that he represents.

Or it could be that since he and his ilk have not been in the limelight since failing to indict American cyclist Lance Armstrong also on alleged drug use, Howman is just out hunting for another sports celebrity who could pull out WADA from obscurity and once again be in the pages of the world's sports papers and media.

I have not talked to Manny Pacquiao for over a year now but based on what was reported in the media, his position is simple: Go ahead, draw blood from me for drug testing but not within 20 days of the fight. Manny has also reportedly said he is willing to take another blood test right after the fight.

Drug testing is unfamiliar territory for me because I only go through it when I renew my driver's and gun licenses, but common sense will tell you that if indeed a person is into drugs to enhance his athletic capability, the traces of those drugs will linger even after the fight, especially right after the fight.

Howman's conclusion is simply outrageous and uncalled for. It puts a huge question mark over the credibility of the agency that he represents.

There is simply no justification for Howman to issue that statement based on flawed logic. Besides, scientists are supposed to base their conclusions on irrefutable scientific examinations.

Why does Manny Pacquiao dislike the idea of a bloodtesting within 20 days of his scheduled fight with Mayweather?
Well, there is no scientific basis actually and it may never be understood by those who are not familiar with Filipino or even Asian culture.

But let me just try to educate Howman and his ilk.

Asians and Filipinos are fatalists. We believe in fate, in good luck and bad luck, in talisman and in feng shui.

There are people who feel powerful by doing certain rituals before any endeavour and who forsee victory and success in the manifestations of mother nature.

It is bad omen to sweep the floor before you go to the cockpit to fight game chickens which is a national sport in the Philippines. To some people, it is bad omen to cut your fingernails or even hair before a big undertaking.

Personally, I look and consider the rain as a sign of good things to come, of success. At the start of all of my political undertakings, it always rained and I have never lost in an election. Somehow, I feel more confident whenever rains drop on the launching of any endeavour.

Manny Pacquiao believes in fate having been born in a culture marked by belief in superpowers and superstition. This explains his abhorence to shed blood so close to the fight. It is not that he is taking drugs and wants to hide it to cheat. It is just that he believes that shedding blood saps his power and that it would make him vulnerable.

There is nothing scientific in this and this may never be understood by people living in the parts of the world.

But I believe David Howman and his ilk should understand that the world is not how they alone see it.

This world that we live in is viewed differently by people of different culture and tradition and unless Howman and people like him learn to accept this is as a fact, there will always be conflict in our age and time.

They have a world for that David Howman: Culture-sensitivity.

The columnist is the former governor and now vice governor of North Cotabato, a province in southern Philippines. He holds a Masters Degree in Rural Development and is pursuing a doctorate degree in the same field.


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