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Manny Pacquiao

Lawyer: Pacman hurting from transfer imbroglio

March 28, 2009 1:11pm

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao won’t take this one sitting down.

Hurting from what his legal counsel describes as "a conscious and well-planned grand design to malign him," the boxing icon denied on Friday all allegations hurled against him, saying he was the "victim and not the culprit" in the controversial issue about the aborted transfer of the television rights of his May 3 fight with Ricky Hatton from Solar Sports to ABS-CBN.

Reached for a reaction, ABS-CBN said it was standing by its previous statement regarding the issue.

“Suportahan na lang natin si Manny [Let us just support Manny]," said ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III. “Ang masasabi ko lang [All I can say is), we acted in an ethical manner."

In a statement read by lawyer Jing Gacal, Pacquiao said money was never a consideration when he entertained thoughts of airing the 12-round bout over the giant network.

In the first place, Pacquiao added that he never personally approached ABS-CBN about the matter, contrary to what the Lopez-owned media outfit had been saying all along.

The General Santos City native mentioned sports broadcaster Dyan Castillejo as the one who broached to him the idea.

“Sometime last February before he left for training camp, it was Ms. Dyan Castillejo, a sports reporter and television host of ABS-CBN who approached him with the idea that ABS-CBN wants his forthcoming fight against Ricky Hatton shown and aired on their tv station," Pacquiao said in his statement.

The world’s top pound-for-pound boxer also accused the ABS-CBN lawyer, whom he did not name, as the one who made him believe "that there was a violation on the part of Solar," adding that the giant network even offered to buy out his contract with the sports cable outfit shortly after signing up with the television channel.

Gacal said he didn’t fly to Los Angeles until March 18 when Pacquiao instructed him to come over and discuss the legal consequences of his actions.

The legal counsel of the boxing champion bared that ABS-CBN’s offer of a contract buyout was lower than what Pacquiao would be paid for by Solar Sports. The country’s leading sports channel naturally rejected the offer.

"Money was never a main consideration when he entertained ABS-CBN. In fact, the documents he signed did not even stipulate what the full and total financial considerations were to be granted him by ABS-CBN," Gacal said.

"He is saddened, troubled and hurting from all the vilification thrown upon him by this unfortunate incident," continued Gacal, joined in the presidential table by Manny Pacquiao Promotions president Eric Pineda at a press conference at the Renaissance Hotel. "Yes, he admits he is not without fault for this mess. He was too trusting and too accommodating – too shy to say no."

Pacquiao fell short of accusing ABS-CBN of taking advantage of his situation.

"He was made to believe that what he signed has factual and legal foundation... He realizes now that if, indeed, ABS-CBN was motivated by good faith, the prudent thing that they should have done was to exercise due diligence and should have acted without malice," Gacal emphasized.

Gacal said he dissuaded Pacquiao from further making comments on the issue son he could concentrate on his training for the Hatton fight, but the Filipino ring superstar would have none of it.

"Truth will set you free," Gacal quoted Pacquiao as saying.

The Pacman also mentioned that he never said he would be transferring to ABS-CBN as a talent. What he did say was that his fight would be "aired and shown" by the giant network.

"He never mentioned that he will refrain from being a television talent of GMA-7 where he has a live contract that he will honor and respect," said Gacal.

Finally, Pacquiao apologized for the unfortunate incident which created confusion and division among his fans and also supporters of the warring television networks.

“He is asking for the support and prayers of the entire Filipino people for his fight on May 2," said Gacal. – GMANews.TV