Pacquiao still People's Champ, say Philippine senators

Pacquiao still People's Champ, say Philippine senators
Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Jeff Horn of Australia fight.
PHOTO: Reuters

Manny Pacquiao remains the "People's Champ" and a "national treasure" despite his stunning loss to Australian Jeff Horn on Sunday, Malacañang said.

For colleagues in the Senate, the 11-time world champion will forever remain an idol and a hero.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Pacquiao's defeat did not diminish the honour he had brought to the country.

"Nothing will change: Sen. Manny Pacquiao will remain our People's Champ, Pambansang Kamao (National Fist), and national treasure in global sports," Abella said in a statement.

Colleagues in the Senate remained proud of Pacquiao.

Pacquiao is "forever my hero and idol," said Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, summing up the sentiment.

Decision slammed

But Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Richard Gordon did not mince words as they slammed how the judges and referees did their job.

"The people, even non-Filipinos, knew [Pacquiao] was the champion," Sotto said in a text message from Brisbane, where he watched the fight.

Sotto noted that two words became the trending tweets in the aftermath of the Pacquiao-Horn fight: "robbed and rigged."

He said the referee did not call out or even issued a warning to Horn when he did a headlock on Pacquiao.

"The fight should have been stopped in the ninth round when Horn was no longer fighting back. Then there were two instances of head-butts to Manny that the judges did not deduct," Sotto said.

Gordon, in his tweets, said that the "whole world is unanimous" that "our man won" and "we are confident he did."

He said Pacquiao deserved "the respect of everyone" and that Horn "gets shame" while "refs get shame."

Sen. Nancy Binay said Pacquiao "showed us that we remain graceful in defeat-never losing hope and striving to get back up on our feet against adversity."

Sen. Grace Poe tweeted that Pacquiao "remains champion in the hearts of Filipinos."

Sen. JV Ejercito said, "Whatever the result is, no other Filipino in the modern era has given the Philippines so much honour."

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