by Charles Jay
Okay, let’s get this one straight – Manny Pacquiao, who is an elected official in the Philippines, may have actually been harboring a fugitive, wanted not for simply napping, but for CAR-napping, in his home?
And that he may be holding a libel suit over the head of the reporter who broke that story, as a way of bullying him into jail?
And he may or may not be hiding information about his taxes from the Filipino government; something that could result, admittedly under the worst case scenario, in a prison sentence of up to two years?
One would think that the next time Pacquiao the politician goes on the stoop, he’ll have some ‘splaining to do.
And those Pacquiao fans who have been going out of their way to call Floyd Mayweather a bad guy might not have any room to talk.
We covered some of his tax problems in the last installment of this soap opera. But we have now come across a more bizarre chapter.
Mohammad Akia, nicknamed “Bong,” was once the head of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group, but he has recently been identified with a ring of car thieves who resold the “hot” automobiles to others. Some of the vehicles were purchased by celebrities and political officials. In all, 26 vehicles were traced to Akia. And so the search was on.
He was coming in on a flight from General Santos City Airport about a month ago but when he saw that the cops were poised to arrest him, he did the smart thing and snuggled up to Pacquiao, who had come in on the same flight and was just about to get into his Hummer. The cops were asked by their superiors to back off while Akia was with Pacquiao, but they did know that the two were together.
They were traced to Pacquiao’s house, where Akia was reportedly still hiding out.
Pacquiao’s lawyer has denied that Manny has anything to do with Akia, which sounds like some creative spinning.
The reporter who broke the story, Edwin Espejo, has a column that appears on the website MindaNews.com called “Pacquiao Watch,” which follows Pacquiao with a degree of objectivity. His story was entitled “Stolen car dealer finds refuge in Pacman Mansion,” which doesn’t sound too far off if the facts as we know them are true.
In the United States, we have seen instances where a politician or two, not to mention presidential nominees for cabinet positions, had an illegal alien working for them, generally as a domestic. But this is quite different. We don’t want to jump to any undue conclusions, but if a U.S. congressman was found to be harboring a fugitive in connection with stolen cars, who had previously been involved with shootings and illegal gun possession, as is the case with Akia, there would be enough pressure to resign that it couldn’t help but happen. If he didn’t resign, he’d face expulsion, and that is before the criminal charges would start.
Yeah, it’s a serious thing. I guess Pacquiao thought so too.
After Espejo’s story ran, Pacquiao reacted by filing a lawsuit seeking P75 million in damages (equal to about $1.75 million American) against Espejo.
This isn’t exactly a reporter from a gossip tabloid he was going after. Espejo is the chairman of a regional chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and he has a considerable audience.
As far as can be determined, the libel laws in the Philippines are very arcane. They were, in fact, described in a recent story as being “draconian.” Alex Adonis, a broadcaster, was sentenced to four years in jail as the result of a lawsuit filed by the House Speaker, Prospero Nogales. Now the fear is that the effect of a Pacquiao lawsuit could be the same.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has come out against these laws as a violation of the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights, which is involved with free speech rights. Pacquiao has been urged by the Center for International Law to drop his libel suit as a statement on his part that, as a legislator, he is in favor of decriminalizing libel and bringing the Philippines into the 21st Century, after first passing through the 19th and 20th Centuries, in that regard.
Normally we would say that now we’ll find out what Pacquiao was made of, but this guy apparently loves to sue, and can’t stand it when anyone scrutinizes him. Here’s an excerpt from one of Espejo’s “Pacquiao Watch” columns, dated January 31, about a week and a half before any of this Akia business started:
He filed a libel case against a sports scribe who reported his heavy gambling just when his popularity was soaring. Before that, he also threatened to sue several local reporters in General Santos for the stories that showed early on his penchant for women. His uncle-in-law prosecutor however prevailed over his plans.
Last week, Pacquiao reportedly had a complaint subscribed before a prosecutor that can only be viewed as a prelude to filing another libel case against a correspondent of a widely circulated national broadsheet.
Thus far Pacquiao has not done a thing to decriminalize libel. So how will he try to use THIS particular lawsuit?
This just in: a 67-year-old regional court judge, coming out of the Pacquiao mansion, got hit by a motorcyclist, who was apparently drunk, and had to be rushed to the hospital.
It is said that he was attending a session of Bible studies at the house.
Let’s see…..a judge, a car-jacker, a drunk on a motorbike, the PacMan, the Bible – oh, and thrown in some fighting cocks in the backyard.
This mansion has more activity than the Playboy Mansion. And it’s a lot more unusual.
All of a sudden it’s not so strange for Mayweather to be setting hundred-dollar bills on fire, is it?