Pacquiao fans seeking his help pushed away | Inquirer Sports

Pacquiao fans seeking his help pushed away


Over a week after the “Fight of the Century,” Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao in a homecoming motorcade from Pasay Road, Makati City to Rajah Sulayman Park, Manila on Wednesday.

Dressed in a worn-out shirt and holding a placard with the words “Sarangani Province,” Crisanto Quiampo stood out in the crowd that welcomed boxing champion Manny Pacquiao at Rajah Sulaiman Plaza in Malate, Manila, on Wednesday.

About 400 people, mostly employees of the Manila City government or officers and watchmen of the different barangays (villages) in the Malate district, as well as residents in the area, crammed in the six tarpaulin tents set up in the plaza to welcome the homecoming Pacquiao, who lost the so-called Fight of the Century to American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas on May 2 (May 3 in Manila).


When Pacquiao arrived around 11:30 a.m., pandemonium broke out, as he and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who welcomed him, were mobbed by journalists and the champion’s supporters.

Quiampo said he tried to get near to Pacquiao after the champion got off the flat-bed truck that carried him to the plaza, but Pacquiao’s security pushed him away.


“We wanted to approach him, but the bouncers pushed us away,” Quiampo said. “We just wanted to ask for help from Pacquiao so we could go home. But they won’t let us close.”

Quiampo, who was with his two sisters and his wife and baby, said they were from Pacquiao’s hometown of Alabel in Sarangani.

He said his family left Alabel for Manila in 2010 in search of a better life, but life in the capital turned out to be harder for them.

“The businesses we set up have all failed. Now, we sleep on Baywalk along Manila Bay. We scrape by every day, and we had hoped to get help from Pacquiao to go back to our hometown,” Quiampo said.

He said he thought carrying the placard would attract Pacquiao’s attention.

“I hoped Pacquiao would be drawn to it and he would approach us, but it didn’t work. Instead, we were pushed away from him, and people around us also shouted at me, telling me to put down my placard because they couldn’t see him. We tried asking for posters or shirts or the other things he was giving away, but his bouncers said we couldn’t have one,” he said.

The program for Pacquiao was just as disorderly as the mob that welcomed him as he came down from his float. Under the heat of the noontime sun, with just an umbrella sheltering them, Estrada lauded Pacquiao for siding with poor people.


“We are fortunate that Pacquiao passed by our city. He is not just a champion in the ring, but also a champion for the poor, because his heart and mind are always working for their welfare. He did not have to go into politics, but he did so he could help a greater number of people,” Estrada said.

Pacquiao spoke briefly, thanking Estrada, a former President of the Philippines.

“Thank you, President Mayor Joseph Estrada … for the warm welcome after my fight. Thank you to the Filipino people for uniting behind me in my fight against Mayweather,” he said.

After the program, which lasted about 15 minutes, Estrada returned to City Hall, while Pacquiao boarded an SUV with tinted windows and went to Manila Hotel.

Despite his unfortunate experience, Quiampo said his family was happy that they saw Pacquiao, and hoped they would find a way to talk to him soon.

“He’s still my idol from my hometown. He made us and the country proud. Even if he lost to Mayweather, we saw how clean he played,” Quiampo said.

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