MANILA, Philippines - Sarangani congressman and People's Champ Manny Pacquiao can add another feather to his cap after the Office of the President granted his commissionship in the reserve force of the Armed Forces with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
The Army Chief public affairs office said Pacquiao was commissioned in the Reserve Force of the AFP with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel effective September 21, 2011. The document was signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa under the authority of the President.
“Congressman Pacquiao’s commissionship was based on the provisions of Section 44 of the Republic Act 7077 which provides that elected and appointed officials can be commissioned in the service if they are degree holders,” said Major Harold Cabunoc, the acting Army Spokesperson.
Col. Regidor dela Cruz, commander of the NCR Regional Community Defense Group, endorsed Pacquiao's nomination to Brig. Gen. Alex Albano who personally transmitted the recommendation to Army Chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz.
Recognized as a hero among soldiers and the Filipino people as a whole, Pacquiao’s nomination easily passed through the military bureaucracy within a year.
“I am very glad that the President has finally approved the recommendation that I initiated last year. I am considering this as one of my notable accomplishment as RCDG commander,” said dela Cruz who is retiring by the end of this month.
Dela Cruz will also recommend to the Army leadership for the formal donning of rank upon Pacquiao’s return following his highly anticipated fight against Juan Manuel Marquez on November 13.
On June 30, 2011, Pacquiao was given military honors by Ortiz for successfully defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt against Shane Mosley.
“I am proud that Congressman Pacquiao has finally been commissioned as an officer. He is a leader and a man of influence in his own right making him as one of the first examples of heroism and love for the country,” said Ortiz.
Pacquiao was enlisted in the Reserve Force of the Philippine Army in the rank of Sergeant on April 27, 2006.
His becoming Army Reserve Enlisted Personnel was courtesy of then Col Alexander B Yano who was still a Brigade Commander in Sarangani when the young boxer was starting his boxing career.
He was later on promoted to the rank of Technical Sergeant on December 1, 2006. On October 7, 2007, he was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant for giving distinct honor, not only to the Army and the AFP, but the entire country after defeating Antonio Barrera.
He was then elevated to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant on May 4, 2009 as a tribute to him as the World’s No.1 pound-for-pound boxer.