By EDDIE G. ALINEA and CLAIRE R. MORALES
GENERAL SANTOS CITY (PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA) — World boxing icon and Sarangani Congressman Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao continues to emerge as a top contender for the 12 Senate posts to be contested in the May 9 elections as he enjoys wide support from the sporting world and other sectors in the country and among overseas Filipinos.
All surveys indicate that he has improved in the ratings placing 5th to 11th places despite skipping most of the campaign while training for his third fight against American Timothy Bradley last April 10 which he won convincingly.
Pacquiao, who is one of top individual taxpayers in the Philippines, has just secured a technical knockout of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) after the Supreme Court, in its summer session in Baguio City, remanded the P3 billion tax case of Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee to the CTA.
At the same time the SC Second division ordered the CTA to conduct a preliminary hearing on the tax case and afford the couple of their rights to due process.
As such, the SC partially granted the petition of Pacquiao and issued a preliminary injunction stopping the CTA in implementing its resolutions requiring them to deposit P3 billion to P4 billion cash bond.
The SC has earlier issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of Pacquiao and his wife Jinky, outgoing vice governor of Sarangani.
Pacquiao’s strong showing in the polls shaped up despite a whirlwind of howls over his statement on same-sex marriage which he said was misconstrued to which he has apologized.
Many religious leaders, including those of the Roman Catholic Church, actually sided with Pacquiao on his statement during the controversy.
Leaders of churches in the United States and elsewhere travelled thousands of miles and visited Pacquiao in General Santos City to express their support for him.
The American evangelists included Larry West, Cole Robertson, Steven Prine and Art Madlaing of the We Care Ministry USA.
” Si Manny na nagpahayag lamang ng kanyang pagtutol sa pagpapangasawahan ng dalawang taong pareho ang kasarian base sa mga aral ng Diyos ay kinukundena dito mismo sa ating sariling bayan,” San Francisco, California-based evangelist Art Madlaing lamented..
“Where is our people’s sense of values? Why, they’re even threatening to boycott Manny’s candidacy? Kung sabagay maliit na grupo lamang sila, pero ganoon na ba tayong mga Pilipino ngayon na puwedeng manakot sa mga taong di naniniwala sa kanila?” Madlaing , publisher and columnist of several Filipino newspapers in California, bewailed.
Madlaing headed a group of American evangelists who paid Pacquiao a courtesy call recently at his General Santos City hideaway. The group, belonging to We Care Ministry USA Bible Study included Larry West, Cole Robertson and Steven Prine extended their all-out moral and spiritual support to the eight-division champion’s stand on the issue of same-sex union. The 18-year-old Robertson, grandson of famous evangelist Pat Robertson, is a cast in the popular reality TV Show “Duck Dynasty”.
The group also urged Pacquiao to continue preaching God’s words and teachings and prayed for the continued success of this city’s pride in his calling as a fighter and all his undertakings as a Christian.
West, 71, of Louisiana who himself is a preacher for several decades, expressed surprised how the issue has blown into an almost uncontrollable proportion considering that the Philippines is known throughout the world as a predominantly Christian country.
Robertson, for his part, promised to feature the entire interview in one of the episodes of his television shows.
Madlaing, who represents the San Franciscan Golden Gate Church of Christ and the Fil-Am media as associate publisher of Philippines Digest monthly magazine and columnist of the leading Northern California weekly Philippine Today, among others, likewise vowed the help of his publications magnify Pacquiao’s political and religious advocacies.
“We Filipinos in America might have been living there for a long time, but, certainly, we still possess the traits and characters of a true-blooded Filipino, lalo na ang pagmamahal natin at paggalang sa paginoon na siyang lumikha sa ating lahat,” he pointed out.
Prine of California belittled the threat made by LGBT calling Filipino electorates not to vote the incumbent Sarangani Cogressman, who is running for Senator in the coming May elections, saying “with God on the side of Pacquiao, he can’t go wrong. God is very good, especially to those who love him. This issue should not worry him at all.”