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Freeman Region

Pacquiao set to grace Bacolod event

Danny B. Dangcalan - The Freeman

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines  — Senator-elect Manny Pacquiao will lead guests during the inaugural ceremonies of incoming Bacolod City officials on July 6 at the Bacolod Government Center.

The incoming officials will be led by Mayor-elect Evelio Leonardia, and Vice Mayor-elect El Cid Familiaran. Congressman-elect Greg Gasataya will also join them.

This is the first time, after many years, that the three top officials will have one inauguration. Leonardia, Gasataya, and Familiaran all come from the same local party, Grupo Progreso.

Pacquiao, adopted son of Bacolod City and long-time friend of Leonardia, has already confirmed he is arriving for the inaugural rites.

Leonardia was the first public official to take his oath before Pacquiao in 2010, when the boxing champion was first elected congressman of Saranggani province. Again, he is expected to be the first elected official that Pacquiao, as a senator, will swear into office.

Leonardia and Pacquiao were seatmates in the 16th Congress, where Leonardia served as a freshman legislator. They leave Congress at the same time, with Pacquiao to serve as senator; and Leonardia as mayor of Bacolod.

Leonardia had carried the champion's belt and the Philippine flag in most of Pacquiao's fights. He is also godfather to two Pacquiao's children, namely, Queenie and Israel.

Also confirmed as guest in the Bacolod event is former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson, who was also in the 2010 inaugural and a constant companion of the new senator.

Incoming city councilors expected to attend are Ricardo Tan, Caesar Distrito, Cindy Rojas, Renecito Novero, Em Ang, Elmer Sy, Ann Palermo, Wilson Gamboa Jr., Dindo Ramos, Bart Orola, Claudio Puentevella and Sonya Verdeflor.   (FREEMAN)

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