MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao's former aide Jake Joson charged fees for free tickets, meetings and photos, the senator's spokesperson said Tuesday.
Pacquiao decided "to keep him (Joson) away" after discovering that his former aide was "hustling to make money during his fights," said Nikki De Vega, Pacquiao's lawyer and spokesperson.
"During his fights, Pacquiao would assign him to distribute tickets to his friends and guests but instead of giving them away for free, Joson would sell them," she said in a statement.
"Pacquiao also found out that Joson collected 'entrance fee' from people, many of them are wealthy foreigners, who wanted to meet and have a photo with him (Pacquiao)," she said.
De Vega said Pacquiao confronted Joson about these incidents last year, but was pushed to file cyber libel, estafa, and syndicated estafa cases after his former aide alleged that the senator owed him some P65 million.
Joson alleged that he and other Pacquiao supporters pooled funds from their personal savings to help fund an advance payment the boxer allegedly demanded to enter a fight contract with Paradigm Sports.
De Vega denied Joson's allegations, calling these "false, malicious, and nothing but a fabrication."
"Joson has no real source of income except hustling during Pacquiao’s fights," Vega's statement read.
"Noong may panahon na mareremata na yung kanyang bahay at pinapalayas na siya doon... para 'di siya mapatalsik sa bahay ay tinulungan siya ni Sen. Manny... more or less P10 million pati sa amortization," she added.
(During the time when his house was foreclosed and he was being asked to vacate it... it was Sen. Manny who helped him... and shelled out about P10 million to cover the dues, including the amortization.)
Pacquiao’s team is also planning to take "legal action for them to be able to collect all the money that Joson took, including among others, the money used to complete the payment for his house," Vega's statement read.
Joson has yet to respond to the Pacquiao camp's allegations.
Joson earlier told reporters that he has tapped lawyer Karen Jimeno, who was part of the defense team of late Chief Justice Renato Corona, to handle his cases against Pacquiao.
De Vega said it was "suspicious" why Joson is raising allegations against Pacquiao at a time when the senator is set to campaign for the presidency in the 2022 national elections.
Joson has also filed his certificate of candidacy as a nominee of the Fronliners Party-list.