Pacquiao cries foul over leaked village lockdown letter, calls for investigation

<i>Photo: Manny Pacquiao / FB</i>
Photo: Manny Pacquiao / FB

Boxer-senator Manny Pacquiao said over the weekend that he wants an investigation into a leaked private letter issued by Dasmariñas Village calling for his entire Makati City household to go into self-quarantine following his exposure to a COVID-19-positive colleague, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

A copy of the letter was leaked to reporters, and was making the rounds on social media over the weekend.

“For your own family and household’s safety, please have yourself self-quarantined, STAY HOME. No one including any of your household can come out,” the letter from village chief Rossana Hwang read, saying the measure was recommended by the Makati Health Department and a doctor from the Makati Medical Center, who supposedly also resided in the village.

Hwang also wrote that they could purchase essential items for the Pacquiao household, and asked the superstar athlete-turned-politician to “please be a model example” in light of the tightened village security to prevent the spread of the disease.

Pacquiao was identified as a person under monitoring (PUM) after he hosted a dinner event for the political party PDP-Laban, which was attended by Pimentel and other guests on March 4. A video of the party made the rounds on social media after Pimentel became the subject of scorn for visiting a Makati hospital the same day he was confirmed to have tested positive. Hwang cited the video as evidence that Pacquiao could have been exposed to COVID-19, spurring her to order the boxer to stay at home.

In retaliation, Pacquiao called out Hwang in another letter, saying the leaked document “has been [the] subject of several news reports and malicious social media posts,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.

“In this regard, I wish to know how this private letter addressed to me went around social media with total disregard for my right to privacy. Meantime, I will refer this matter to the appropriate agency for proper investigation to avoid the same incident from happening,” Pacquiao wrote.

“Let me also emphasize that it was not ‘partying’ as stated in your letter. It was a political meeting. The word ‘partying’ casts me as someone insensitive to the current crisis of the nation,” Pacquiao added, referring to the dinner for PDP-Laban membersRappler reports. The senator also added that the March 4 dinner happened days before Pimentel admitted to showing symptoms.

Pacquiao, a father of five, also maintained that he and his family had been observing social distancing prior to the village officials’ directive, and have “placed ourselves on quarantine since March 24, Tuesday.”

He also noted that he had already tested negative for COVID-19, based on the result of a rapid test kit that he got from South Korea that was given to him by a friend. Pacquiao added that while the kits were supposedly being used in South Korea, they have not been approved by the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration.

He said that he has yet to take a government-approved swab test as he has not shown symptoms. However, he said that if he experienced symptoms, he would be “willing to undergo the swab testing for the sake of my family and my country, but I will go through the regular procedure.”


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