Representative Pacquiao Awol from Congress | Inquirer Sports

Representative Pacquiao Awol from Congress

07:34 AM October 05, 2010

IS REP. EMMANUEL D. Pacquiao, aka Manny Pacquiao, of the lone district of Sarangani on official leave from Congress while he’s training in Baguio City?

Don’t think so, says his lawyer and chief congressional aide, Frank Gacal.
You mean Manny’s Awol (absent without official leave)? I asked to double check.
“Ganoon na nga (That’s the case),” Frank replied, confirming what I’d heard.
Last week, Frank Cimatu of the Inquirer Northern Luzon bureau informed me that Rep. Pacquiao had intimated that he did not file an official leave from the House of Representatives.
* * *
Before fans of the national fist start running around shaking their own fists at me, let me explain.
Gacal says his boss—now on week two in Baguio priming for his fight with Mexico’s  Antonio Margarito on Nov. 14 for the vacant WBC super welterweight belt—had approached his own boss, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.
He wasn’t privy to the chat between Pacquiao and Belmonte, but Gacal said it was his understanding that the seven-time world boxing champion asked permission for his long absence, and that the Speaker even sent the Sarangani solon off with praise for the honor he brings the country.
Gacal said the Pacman’s Awol status should not be an issue because “some congressmen also incur absences” and that the legislator-fighter chose informal time off “because he plans to attend some sessions.”
* * *
That’s not going to be music to the ears of his trainer, Freddie Roach, whose focus is to sharpen Manny’s edge over the towering Margarito for the bout slated at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas.
Roach is not awed by Pacman the politician and does not address Manny “Honorable” or “Congressman,” according to Cimatu.
“No I don’t call Manny that,” the mercurial trainer told Cimatu. “But I will, if he wants to be called that.”
* * *
National shooting chief Art Macapagal said my recent column was unfair to the trap shooting team left out of the Guangzhou Asian Games. I had written that the team failed miserably at a recent world championship in Munich.
Macapagal said that, on the contrary, the team of youngster Haden Topacio and veterans Jethro Dionisio and Eric Ang surpassed not only the bronze but the silver-medal score in the last Asian Games, at that Munich shootfest.
“The standard was set by the Philippine Olympic Committee…” said Macapagal. “To come up with new standards would be unfair.”
* * *
“That our shooters improved is an exciting development,” answered Asiad chief of mission Joey Romasanta of the POC.
Joey, however, added that the parameters of selection notwithstanding, the POC’s work “was to determine the level of competitiveness of athletes being recommended by respective national sports associations vis-a-vis entries of other Asiad countries, some of whom had improved over four years in larger strides.”
Romasanta said in a statement that in Munich, the 20-year-old Topacio, the best Filipino performer, “ranked 87th in a field of 158 scoring 29 points less than the winner from Spain and 26 behind the highest Asian finisher from China in a discipline where a hairline means a medal.”
Dionisio and Ang placed 129th and 131st respectively, added Romasanta.
TAGS: Antonio Margarito, Boxing, Congress, Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao

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