[PHOTO AT LEFT - Filipino boxing idol Manny Pacquiao kisses his wife Jinkee after a press conference following their arrival at the NAIA Centennial Terminal yesterday. Earlier this week, Pacquiao brushed aside rumors that his marriage was in trouble. He was awarded the Order of Sikatuna by President Arroyo yesterday. Rudy Santos]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 21, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Sealed with a kiss.

After all those rumors that they’re headed for splitsville, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee yesterday showed that they’re fine and ready to move on.

The Pacquiao kids Jimwell, Michael and Princess were all over the newly crowned WBO welterweight champion after he flew in from Los Angeles at 5:30 a.m.

Pacquiao bore the signs of his classic 12-round battle with Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas last week, but looked happy and excited to come home to another hero’s welcome.

Pacquiao faced the media and a battalion of supporters asking so many questions, most of them regarding his alleged affair with starlet Krista Ranillo that apparently overshadowed his feat as the first boxer to win seven titles in seven different weight divisions.

The rumors of the alleged affair heightened when video footage showed Jinkee sobbing during a thanksgiving Mass in Nevada.

Pacquiao tried to console Jinkee but she merely waved him off and turned her back on the boxing champion.

Jinkee yesterday said she was touched by the homily during the Mass.

Pacquiao and Jinkee faced the media on a makeshift stage, and later on a cozy sofa along with their children.

By the looks of it, Pacquiao and Jinkee have made up.

Jinkee blushed and was all smiles when Pacquiao, egged on by the media, kissed her on the lips.

The couple kissed at least three times, and he put his arm around her, and then she leaned on her husband.

“We’re okay. I just hope that when they talk about those rumors they also talk about my upcoming movie Wapakman,” Pacquiao said, referring to his movie scheduled to be shown during the holiday film festival where Ranillo is his co-star.

Ranillo was not even mentioned in the mini-press conference. But she was caught in the middle of things when she reportedly flew to Los Angeles less than two weeks before the fight.

After gracing the Jimmy Kimmel talk show in Hollywood last Nov. 4, Pacquiao drove off in his black, two-seater Mercedes with a female companion, and it didn’t look like it was Jinkee.

Later in the day, at the jampacked Mall of Asia where Pacquiao was toasted by his TV partner, GMA-7, Jinkee was by his side sharing the stage.

Pacquiao offered his wife a big bouquet of flowers and again they kissed.

Jinkee smiled, and when asked if there was anything else she got from her husband, she responded, “His victory in this fight is enough.”

Interviewed by GMA-7, Jinkee refused to talk about the alleged affair of her famous husband.

“I don’t want to talk about those things. We should celebrate the victory of Manny,” she said, but admitted that being a celebrity has a price.

Pacquiao’s equally famous mother, Aling Dionisia, also downplayed the reports of her son’s marriage breaking up because of the Ranillo affair.

“Intriga lang yan (That’s all intrigue). Whoever started those rumors must be the one who liked it,” she said.

Dionisia said she does not believe the rumors that her son has an affair with Ranillo.

“I kept reminding them (Pacquiao and Jinkee) to keep up the good relationship,” she said.

Jinkee’s mother, Rosalina Jamora, on the other hand, said she was distraught by reports of Pacquiao’s affair.

“As a mother, of course I was hurt. Whatever the intrigues are, they will have to decide on that,” she said.

Jinkee’s father Nestor Jamora was visibly angry.

He warned the entire Jamora clan might boycott Pacquiao and would even campaign against the boxer in his bid to become congressman of Sarangani.

Before leaving Los Angeles, Pacquiao said he took time to take his family shopping, including his parents and his siblings, and of course, Jinkee.

Pacquiao said Jinkee was busy stocking up items for her new boutique.

Pacquiao said he plans to fly to his hometown in Sarangani today to spend more time with his family, including their baby girl, Queen Elizabeth, who was not at the airport yesterday.

“I will relax with my family, and maybe spend some time on the beach. I want to rest and bond with my family,” said the 30-year-old boxer.

When asked if he wanted another baby with Jinkee, he replied, “When our youngest grows bigger maybe we can make another one,” as Jinkee waved to supporters.

“Salamat sa inyong lahat (thank you all),” she shouted.

One thing at a time

At the airport, Pacquiao gave a statement expressing his gratitude for the support and prayers given to him during the historic 12-round bout in Las Vegas last Sunday.

Pacquiao made history by winning over Cotto and securing his seventh boxing title in seven different weight divisions.

When asked about the possibility of retirement, Pacquiao, sporting a plaster over his right ear and a brace on his right arm, said those plans are not immediate but stressed he might give in to his mother’s request to hang up his boxing gloves and retire undefeated.

“After all, she (Dionisia) is my mother and we should respect our parents,” he remarked.

On the possibility of a match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pacquiao said it would depend on the negotiations.

“I am willing to fight Mayweather as long as there’s an agreement,” Pacquiao said.

“But we don’t want to force him to fight me. He should be the one to challenge me because it was clear I had more pay-per-view than him,” he said.

Pacquiao was also asked about a possible violation of election rules regarding his upcoming movie with Ranillo.

Pacquiao said he would leave the issue to his lawyer, Romulo Macalintal.

“Attorney Macalintal would take care of it since there would be a lot of time in filing the certificate of candidacy up to Dec. 1. Maybe one of these days I will file my candidacy,” he said.

Pacquiao, a native of General Santos City, plans to represent the province of Sarangani at the House of Representatives.

Pacquiao later told reporters at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that he would definitely seek a congressional seat as a district representative of Sarangani or party-list representative of the People’s Champ Movement (PCM).

Pacquiao practically shot down the possibility of running under the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD during the interview.

From the airport, Pacquiao and his entourage proceeded to New World Hotel in Makati City where they had a hearty breakfast.

They then proceeded to Quiapo Church in Manila for the thanksgiving Mass that was attended by an estimated 5,000 people wanting to see him.

Pacquiao then motored to the DENR in Quezon City where he made his traditional courtesy call on his mentor, Secretary Lito Atienza.

Pacquiao donated P100,000 for the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

From the DENR, the Pacquiao motorcade began to snake its way through the streets of Metro Manila, crowded by thousands of supporters hoping to get a glimpse of the boxing legend.

Standing atop a flatbed truck with Jinkee and Atienza beside him, Pacquiao waved to the crowds and threw them t-shirts emblazoned with fist-shaped letters “MP” and draped with the colors of the Philippine flag.

The motorcade passed through Quezon Avenue, España Blvd., Lacson Street and Sen. Gil Puyat in Makati City where it ended at the Pag-IBIG head office building.

Pacquiao and the entourage had lunch and a brief rest at the New World Hotel before they trooped to the SM Mall of Asia for a concert. –With Rudy Santos, Marichu Villanueva, Katherine Adraneda, Sandy Araneta, AP

Next for Pacman: Congress in 2010 (The Philippine Star) Updated November 18, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao is bracing for two big battles in 2010 — a congressional bid and a possible fight against former pound-for-pound champ American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao told ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda” yesterday that he is bent on running for a seat in Congress in 2010.

“Tuloy iyong pagtakbo ko next year (My plan to run in the elections next year is on),” Pacquiao said.

There are reports that Pacquiao is planning to run for congressman in Sarangani province where he has built his newest mansion and established residence.

But in his latest victorious fight, Pacquiao was introduced by emcee Michael Buffer as a native of Sarangani. Pacquiao is also reportedly being courted to run in Quezon City.

Pacquiao had just snatched the World Boxing Organization’s welterweight title from Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, whom he beat after 12 rounds in Las Vegas, Nevada last Saturday.

The title was the Filipino boxer’s seventh. He also holds titles in six different weight divisions.

Pacquiao is scheduled to return to the Philippines on Friday and he will stay for a while in Manila before returning to his home in General Santos City.

The boxer said he would take a vacation until early next year before entering into another fight deal, possibly with the camp of Mayweather.

Asked to pick between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mayweather, he said he would prefer to fight the still undefeated Mayweather.

“I don’t think na may manonood pa sa laban kay Marquez. Si Marquez ay tinalo ni Floyd. Siguro bahala na si Bob Arum (I don’t think boxing fans will watch another fight with Marquez. Marquez got beaten by Floyd. I would just leave it up to Bob Arum),” Pacquiao said, hinting at his desire to face Mayweather in his next fight.

Cardinal appeals to Pacquiao

Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal has appealed to Pacquiao not to enter the political arena, saying that there are other ways of helping his constituents, a radio report said.

North Cotabato Vice Gov. Emmanuel Piñol said there is no need for Pacquiao to run for public office to help the people of Sarangani.

Piñol was a boxing commentator before being elected governor of North Cotabato, and after serving three terms he ran and won as vice governor.

New People’s Army (NPA) rebels also called on Pacquiao to shelve his plans to run for public office.

“We hope that his victory would bring Pacquiao closer to the people, especially those who are marginalized. We also hope he will not become a politician who serve this rotten government,” said Simon Santiago, spokesman of the NPA’s Merardo Arce Southern Mindanao regional command.

Santiago said that communist rebels also look up to Pacquiao for inspiration, particularly in their implementing guerrilla warfare in their continued revolutionary struggle.

“In the movement, people’s struggle is a fight to win till the final victory. We will let the enemy throw punches into the air while we give the final blow when we knock down the already tired enemy. This is one of the tactics in guerrilla warfare,” Santiago said.

Santiago stressed that the NPA rebels were one with the rest of the nation Sunday in cheering for Pacquiao when he defeated Cotto.

Santiago said the rebels also timed the release last Sunday of former captive Army Cpl. Dominador Alegre with the fight of Pacquiao.

Speaker Prospero Nograles expressed support for the plan of Pacquiao to seek a congressional seat in Sarangani next year, saying mPacquiao might be successful this time.

The boxer lost in the 2007 elections to incumbent Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio in the first district of South Cotabato, which includes the boxer’s hometown of General Santos City.

Pacquiao has reportedly transferred his residence and voter registration to Sarangani, where he would face a scion of the wealthy Chiongbian family.

Rep. Iwin Tieng of the party-list group Buhay said Pacquiao should use his international boxing fame to promote his home province and the whole of Mindanao for tourism and development.

“Manny has scaled the Mt. Everest of the boxing world and he has nothing more to prove in that arena. However, I hope Manny will not forget his roots and work to improve conditions in Mindanao. This is the last remaining challenge for Manny,” he said.

Comelec cautions Pacquiao on victory rites

Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials advised Pacquiao to limit the celebration of his boxing triumph, which could be interpreted as premature campaigning, if the boxer really wants to join the political arena.

Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento said that once Pacquiao files his certificate of candidacy (COC), he becomes a candidate so any action to promote his candidacy by way of speech and public appearance could be construed as premature campaigning.

“Under the ruling, these acts are forbidden. Any citizen, even his political enemies, could file a complaint against him,” said Sarmiento.

The filing of COCs for all positions at stake in the May 10, 2009 elections is from Nov. 20 to Dec. 1.

Pacquiao had applied a few months ago for the accreditation of his People’s Champ Movement (PCM) based in General Santos City and Sarangani to enable him to run in the local elections there.

The boxing champion could still seek a national post if his party ties up with any national political party.

Sarmiento admitted that the hero’s welcome being prepared by Malacañang for the boxer might be “construed liberally.”

“Maybe that could be construed liberally knowing the culture of the Filipinos. It’s in our culture to congratulate. Let’s give it to him,” he added.

Sarmiento, however, urged Pacquiao to observe restraint to avoid complications in his planned political career.

The Comelec official said he personally believes that Pacquiao’s commercials should be stopped because they provide “uneven playing field” against other candidates.

Meanwhile, the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) would deploy at least 2,000 policemen to secure Pacquiao when he returns to the country on Friday.

NCRPO chief Director Roberto Rosales said the five police district commanders would coordinate with Malacañang, concerned government agencies and local government units (LGUs).

Malacañang plans a hero’s welcome for Pacquiao.

“Definitely, our role would be to man traffic and prevent criminals like pickpockets and snatchers from taking advantage of the situation,” said Rosales. - Edith Regalado, Jess Diaz, Non Alquitran, Sheila Crisostomo

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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