MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is mulling over the award that will be given to Manny Pacquiao when President Benigno Aquino III meets the newly crowned World Boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight champion when he returns from the US.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Pacquiao, who outclassed Mexican Antonio Margarito in 12 rounds, will definitely be meeting the president.
Aquino was one of millions of Filipinos who rooted for the Filipino champion during the title clash at the Cowboys Stadium in Texas over the weekend.
Mr. Aquino was at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Yokohama, Japan during the Pacquiao-Margarito bout.
Pacquiao has already been honored by Malacañang in 2006 and 2009.
In 2006, he was given the "Order of Lakandula" with the rank of "Champion for Life," following his successful WBC super featherweight title defense against Mexican Oscar Larios.
In 2009, Pacquiao was conferred the "Order of Sikatuna" with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross with Gold Distinction) after he beat Miguel Cotto for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title.
'Medal of Distinction'
The House of Representatives leadership on Monday pledged it would give Pacquiao the Congressional Medal of Distinction after winning his 8th world title.
House Majority Leader Neptali "Boyet" Gonzales II said this was the highest award they can give to Pacquiao, who also serves as Sarangani province representative.
A resolution conferring the award is expected to be adopted by lawmakers. So far, at least 18 resolutions honoring Pacquiao have been filed in the Lower House.
Gonzales said this will be the 2nd time Pacquiao will get the award, with the first given during the 14th Congress.
Some lawmakers were among those who watched the boxing match of Pacquiao and Margarito at the Batasan Pambansa Gym on Sunday.
Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño hopes Pacquiao will use his popularity to push forward pending bills, including a measure they co-authored, that would mandate the establishment of fitness centers in local government units.