Mommy Dionisia urges Pacquiao to be ‘Catholic’ again

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pacmomTyphoon survivors wearily accept boxing idol’s loss 
by Aquiles Z. Zonio, Edwin O. Fernandez, Frinston Lim
Inquirer Mindanao, Dec. 9, 2012

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte—As if losing their homes in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, was not enough, evacuees have to see their boxing idol Manny Pacquiao hitting the canvass face down.

“It’s very sad, but he was clearly outclassed,” said 31-year old George Magbutong, a resident of storm-ravaged Andap in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, who has been staying at Rotary Park gym here with other evacuees.

Magbutong and several other men from the evacuation center watched the fight on a wide screen set up by the city government near the gym.

“I’m one of his fans,” the father of a two-year-old girl said of Pacquiao. He said he was saddened by Pacquiao’s defeat.

Another Andap resident, 60-year-old Ruperto Rejas, said he did not watch the fight but was saddened nonetheless after being told Pacquiao was knocked out.

“I hope we get a share of his earnings even if he lost,” Rejas said.

But many of his fans here attributed Pacquiao’s defeat to changing his religion.

“He didn’t wear that crucifix anymore. That’s where his strength used to come from,” said the 46-year-old Bacat, referring to the Roman Catholic relic the boxer from General Santos has been known to wear during his many fights.

This was also the sentiment of his mother, Dionisia.

At the Pacquiao Mansion in General Santos City, Dionisia was furious about the procession of Protestant pastors crowding his son.

“That’s what he gets for changing religion. Since the Protestant pastors came in to his life, he had not focused on his boxing. They always prayed, with Manny losing sleep,” she said.

“I hope he listens to me when he returns and be a Catholic again,” she added.

Dionisia also claimed her son did not allow her to attend the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod in Rome.

“He said he didn’t have money for my airfare, but with these pastors, he’ll be poor. He better stop being a boxer and be a pastor instead. He lost because God wanted him to,” Dionisia said.

Reynaldo Clapis, former village chairman of Labangal in General Santos, said it was God’s will that Pacquiao lost.

“It’s painful to see him sprawling on the canvass face down. But I guess, it’s God’s will. God wants to remind him to be frugal in spending his money,” Clapis said.

Clapis added that now that Pacquiao had lost, he (Pacquiao) should not squander his earnings come 2013 election.

“His marketability and bankability has dipped significantly. From $25 million during the Bradley fight, his prize money went down to just $8.5 million in the Pacquiao-Marquez 4,” Clapis added.

The people watching the live showing at the Lagao gymnasium in General Santos roared in disbelief upon seeing Pacquiao sprawling motionless on the canvass.

Suddenly, the Lagao gymnasium was almost empty.

Only Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio and her mother, Mindanao Development Authority chairperson Luwalhati Antonino, remained sitting with some security escorts around.

Custodio was seen silently crying, but her mother was wailing upon seeing Pacquiao being knocked out.

“It hurts to see him (Manny) being knocked out like that,” Antonino said.

But Custodio said despite Pacquiao’s defeat, “he’s still our champion.”

“What happened today will never erase the sacrifices he made, as well as the honor he has brought to this country,” Custodio said.

In Cotabato City, Jacky Mondejar, a local boxing analyst and among the first to train Pacquiao during the early years of his boxing career in North Cotabato, said Pacquiao’s performance has been diminishing and he should save himself by retiring with still eight belts from eight divisions.

“Manny Pacquiao needs to retire,” Mondejar said.

“He has to admit that many things preoccupied his career the last two years … I was sad his fight with Marquez ended this way, so devastating,” he added.

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