MANILA: Global boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao at dawn on Friday returned to Manila minus the hero’s welcome including a motorcade that used to greet him a week after he reclaimed the world welterweight crown from American rival Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And the main reason was that Pacquiao’s arrival coincided with the solemn observance of Good Friday during Holy Week that marked the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ in this largely Catholic nation of 100 million Filipinos.
From the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, GMA News reported that Pacquiao and his party took a private jet to General Santos City in restive Mindanao where he was also accorded a “quiet” welcome.
In an interview covered live over a local radio station in General Santos, Pacquiao expressed confidence he would not have any tax problem with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) regarding the huge earnings from his championship bout with Bradley.
Still unconfirmed reports said Pacquiao was guaranteed a $20 million purse from the Bradley fight aside from his earnings from the pay-per-view TV as well as his commercial endorsements of US and Philippine products.
Earlier, Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares, the BIR chief, reminded Pacquiao after he reclaimed the welterweight title not to forget and settle his lax liabilities of $40 million he reportedly incurred in 2008 and 2009.
In the same interview in General Santos City, Pacquiao also disclosed he has yet to decide on his political plans amid reports he was being groomed to run for senator in the May 2016 election which also marks the end of the fixed six-year term of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
Pacquiao is now on his second term as the congressman of Sarangani province in Mindanao, considered one of the country’s poorest.
“I enjoy being a congressman, being a boxer and being a father to my four children,” Pacquiao explained in Filipino, adding he would announce his political plans for 2016 at the “right time.”
Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee, also the vice governor Sarangani, is also nine months pregnant for their fifth child.
Vice President Jejomar Binay who announced he was running for president to succeed Aquino in 2016, disclosed he was considering Pacquiao as one of his senatorial candidates.