"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Los Angeles embraces Pacquiao as ‘True Champ’

Before cameras Mayor Villaraigosa good-naturedly places his hands on boxing great Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao during a media event in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. Seated at right is Rachel Buenviaje of Nike Marketing. Behind them in black attires are Eric Garcetti, president of the City Council and considered Father of Historic Filipinotown; and, right, California Assemblymember Ted Lieu. In white shirt is Ami Almerol Gonzales, a community entrepreneur.

Newly reelected Mayor Villaraigosa presented Saturday a commemorative certificate to Pacquiao in recognition of his being "a true champion who has realized much success inside and outside the boxing ring." Earlier during a media event Pacquiao also received a framed certificate from Assemblymember Lieu.

Asked about his known support for Oscar De La Hoya during Pacman's last fight, Villaraigosa diplomatically replied that "On that night, Manny was the real warrior." He also cited Ring Magazine's designation of Pacquiao as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and praised him for giving back to the community.

The event coincided with the Mayor's Day of Service, which saw Filipino volunteers cleaning designated streets in immediate vicinities, potted trees given away, and the recently reelected mayor and Pacquiao dedicating two newly planted trees in line with the city greening campaign. Also in attendance was the President of the City Council Eric Garcetti, considered Father of Historic Filipinotown, who proclaimed that the Filipino hub is the only one of its kind in the U.S. with a historic designation. It is also one of the best communities in Los Angeles, he added.

Proceeding to a makeshift stage inside the fenced compound of the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), Mayor Villaraigosa and the boxing champ greeted hundreds of adulating fans, most of them Filipinos, who had waited for more than two hours under the sun.

Pacquiao was accompanied to the twin events by his lawyer Franklin Gacal and Michael Moorer, also known as "Double M," a former world champ in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. Moorer now works for Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's famous trainer.– Text and photo by Dionesio C. Grava

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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