MANILA, Philippines – Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, back in the Philippines after vacationing in Israel, will pray for the doctor who expressed concern that the former pound-for-pound king has been showing signs of Parkinson's disease.
Pacquiao and his family returned to Manila early Wednesday morning after spending the holidays touring the Holy Land.
While the Pacquiaos were away on vacation, Dr. Rustico Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, caused a furor when he told radio DZMM that he has been observing early signs of Parkinson’s from Pacquiao.
Jimenez told DZMM that Pacquiao has been exhibiting early symptoms of the disease, including stuttering and hand-twitching, during television interviews. The doctor later clarified that he may be wrong in his observations as he has not met Pacquiao personally to diagnose him.
"Comment lang niya 'yun, lahat naman may karapatan na mag-comment," Pacquiao said when asked about Rustico's unsolicited diagnosis.
"Bad or good, talagang ganoon. May mga tao na gusto lang sumikat, makilala. I’ll pray for them," the boxer added.
Pacquiao emphasized that he underwent numerous tests following his stunning sixth-round knockout loss to rival Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico last December in Las Vegas.
"Ako, sa sarili ko, after the fight, punta sa ospital. Pag dating ko sa Pilipinas, nag-make sure na nagpa-MRI ako," he said. "So lahat, nagpa-check up ako. Okay naman ang resulta."
Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun had earlier said she is not convinced with the CT scan results clearing Pacquiao following the knockout.
But in an earlier statement, Pacquiao criticized both Fortun and Jimenez, saying their comments showed "a total lack of ethics."
"This was just personal opinion and there were no medical tests," he said.
Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, later said that they are considering filing charges against Jimenez for making speculative statements. -- Report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News