MANILA – The country’s most popular sports icon, Manny Pacquiao, has conceded that he has been so kind to his friends that some of them took advantage of his friendship.
Pacquiao said some of these "abusive friends" have used his name to further their personal agenda. Others, he said, just wanted his money.
“Alam ko naman 'yun at naramdaman ko rin 'yan... Minsan ginagamit ang pangalan ko o kaya kinukuha ‘yung pera ko,” the eight-division champion said with a laugh, on Anthony Taberna’s Tapatan ni Tunying on ABS-CBN.
But despite these incidents, Pacquiao said he is not the type of person who burns bridges.
“Ako kasi yung tao na mahiya akong magsabi na ‘wag ka nang magpakita sa akin o ipapahiya ang mga kabigan ko,” he said.
He added that he has learned to forgive them. “Sino naman ako na magtanim ng galit sa kapwa ko?” said Pacquiao, who is a born-again Christian.
When Taberna asked about his closeness to Luis “Chavit” Singson, Pacquiao said he considers the former Ilocos Sur governor as a very loyal companion.
He said Singson has been with him since he started boxing in the 1990s.
“Si Gov. Chavit, malaki ang naitulong sa akin mula noon hanggang ngayon, talagang close na close kami. Mas close pa nga kami kesa doon sa mga anak n’ya e,” said Pacquiao.
“Parang mag-ama na kami.”
Pacquiao is known for his generosity and is always followed by a large entourage, especially when he fights.
He even takes care of their expenses whenever they visit the US to watch his fights, an act that has alarmed some boxing pundits.
"The expression 'generous to a fault' must have been invented for Manny Pacquiao. I don’t fear Manny losing his skills as much as I do him getting sucked dry of his career earnings," said Dave Wiggins of Japan Times Sports.
But Pacquiao said he feels happy whenever he has his friends around.
“Mas ganado ako kapag may mga kaibigan akong nasa likod ko,” said the boxing champion.