Not just Bato: House Speaker, DOJ secretary also given free tickets in Pacquiao match

  • Other top officials were also given free tickets by Senator Manny Pacquiao
  • These boxing tickets, Pacquiao said, were given to him free for promotion
  • Pacquiao also said that he has a lot of free tickets that includes airfare and hotel accommodation

No less than Senator Manny Pacquiao admitted that he also gave free tickets to other top officials for them to watch his match earlier this November.

Aside from Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa, the boxing campion also gave free tickets to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Senator Joel Villanueva and other lawmakers.

According to a GMA News Online story, the tickets are priced at $150 to $1000.

But the senator, in an interview at GMA News TV’s “Bawal ang Pasaway kay Mareng Winnie”, defended that these tickets were given to him for free for promotions.

“May libre naman pong tickets, eroplano, at saka hotel. Marami po akong libre na free tickets. Kasama po sa promotion ‘yan,” said Pacquiao. [There were free tickets, airfare and hotel. I have plenty of them. That’s part of promotions.]

However, unlike the other officials, dela Rosa is currently being investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman for accepting the all-expense-paid trip from Pacquiao.

Republic Act No. 6713 prohibits public officials from accepting gifts from any person “in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.”

In an earlier story, Rappler said sources claim that dela Rosa is being probed by the Ombudsman over the trip because it was Pacquiao who moved to declare vacant the position of chairmanship in the Senate committee on justice, and the former is a “person of interest” for the boxing senator.

Senator Leila de Lima used to head the panel that is looking into the spate of extrajudicial killings in the administration’s war against drugs.

Dela Rosa, on the other hand, said he welcomes the investigation and maintains there is nothing wrong with accepting the free trip.