MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino failed to watch the stunning defeat of People's Champ Manny Pacquiao at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday (Sunday local time).
In an interview, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said he and the President failed to watch the fight yesterday because Aquino was waiting for updates on search and retrieval operations of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on typhoon-hit provinces in Mindanao.
Lacierda said they were surprised to hear about Pacquiao's defeat.
"It was totally unexpected. We were very confident that Pacquiao will conquer Marquez but despite the loss, he lost with dignity and grace. We believe he will recover from that. We commend his conduct," he said.
The President's spokesman said Malacanang will continue to support Pacquiao whatever decision he makes in his career. He said the Palace is also open to giving Pacquiao a hero's welcome despite the loss.
"He has brought so much to the country. There is no reason not to honor Mr. Pacquiao," he said.
Earlier, Vice President Jejomar Binay said the Filipino boxing icon will “rise from this adversity a better and stronger person with his faith in the Almighty even more unshakeable.”
Saying he is proud of Pacquiao, Binay said: “Manny trained hard and he fought hard in the ring. He has shown that he has the true heart of a champion and made us all proud to be Filipinos.”
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also showed support for Pacquiao.
“Despite this surprising outcome, Manny Pacquiao is still an icon of perseverance, excellence and dedication not only to the soldiers of the AFP but to the millions of Filipinos who look up to him,” the AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos said.
He said: “We wish him the best in his future undertakings in the service of the Filipino people.
Pacquiao is a reserve Lieutenant Colonel in the Philippine Army.