Pacquiao a DOJ confidential agent - Gonzalez

- Marichu A. Villanueva () - December 13, 2008 - 12:00am

While he may be the country’s most popular and world-renowned boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao has all along been working as a “confidential agent” of Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Raul Gonzalez.

No less than the DOJ Secretary himself revealed that Pacquiao has been working for him as a “confidential agent” for the past few months now.

“He (Pacquiao) is my intelligence man in Mindanao,” Gonzalez volunteered the information to The STAR last Thursday night at a reception hosted for the boxing champion by Solar Sports which promoted his latest boxing match with Mexican-American boxer Oscar de la Hoya.

In fact, Gonzalez disclosed, Pacquiao carries with him a DOJ identification card, bearing the signature of the secretary as the appointing authority to his being a “confidential agent.”

Gonzalez though did not go into details as to what are the specific duties and responsibilities of Pacquiao as a “confidential agent” except confirming the position is just a “one-peso” appointment, meaning the boxing champion does not receive any compensation or allowances from the government.

Gonzalez was among the Cabinet members who joined the reception for Pacquiao at “The Spiral” in Hotel Sofitel in Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. The others were Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and deputy national security adviser Luis “Chavit” Singson who are Pacquiao’s chief patrons.

The boxing champion proceeded to rest at the Sofitel at the end of his day-long “hero’s welcome” parade around Metro Manila last Thursday. He later stayed at the $3,000 a night presidential suite at the hotel.

Aside from “confidential agent” of the DOJ, Pacquiao is also an Army Reserve officer. He has been several times promoted at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the past victories he scored as a professional boxing champion. He is now Army Master Sergeant, the highest rank in the military that could be given to enlisted personnel in the military. 

Pacquiao’s becoming an Army Reserve officer was courtesy of then Col. Alexander Yano who was still a brigade commander in Sarangani when the young boxer was starting his boxing career.

Under his command, Yano brought Pacquiao with him to the front line but was not allowed anywhere near the combat zone because he was already a promising boxer at the time.

When Yano became the Army chief, Pacquiao was promoted several times until his last promotion as master sergeant.

When Yano became AFP chief of staff, he jokingly told Pacquiao that he could no longer be promoted unless he agrees to be demoted first, citing the limits set under the military promotion board.

In his last boxing bout in Las Vegas with De la Hoya, Pacquiao personally invited Yano to join him there but the AFP chief of staff declined it due to pressing matters in the AFP.

But this time, Yano accepted Pacquiao’s invitation to attend his birthday celebration next week in General Santos City.

In his most recent victory over De la Hoya, deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo earlier announced that President Arroyo would confer to Pacquiao the title “ambassador for peace.”

Asked by The STAR what his plans are as “ambassador for peace, Pacquiao replied: “Sa abot ng aking makakaya, ako’y lagi namang tumutulong para sa kapayapaan.”

However, the Palace has yet to issue the formal appointment papers for Pacquiao.

The DOJ Secretary said the President can issue any kind of appointment to anyone as long as this is in accordance with the law. – With Jaime Laude

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