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Manny Pacquiao now officially a lieutenant colonel

World boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao on Monday was officially elevated to the rank of lieutenant colonel of the reserve force of the Philippine Army.   Army chief Major General Emmanuel Bautista donned the rank insignia on Pacquiao in a ceremony on Monday morning at the Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.   In his acceptance speech, Pacquiao defended his being promoted to the rank despite his lack of a college degree.   “Obviously, I am not trained for military operations, but it should be emphasized that reservists, are by their truest nature, civilian professionals first and military personnel second… Congressman Pacquiao is fairly entitled with the rank of lieutenant colonel,” he said.   He also vowed “to win [his] few more fights and bring honor to our country” after receiving his higher rank.   For his part, Major Harold Cabunoc, Army spokesperson, also maintained the legitimacy of Pacquiao’s commissionship to lieutenant colonel.   “His commissionship was based on the provisions of Section 44 of Republic Act 7077 which provides that ‘elected officials and presidential appointees may be commissioned into the Reserve Force subject to the existing AFP rules and regulations’,” he said in a separate statement.   Pacquiao in the military   Last September, President Benigno Aquino III, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., approved Pacquiao’s commissionship to lieutenant colonel based on recommendation from Army officials.    Pacquiao was first enlisted in the Army reserve force with the rank of sergeant on April 1, 2006 on the recommendation of Brig. Gen. Alexander Yano, who used to be a brigade commander in Sarangani. Yano served as Armed Forces chief before retiring in 2009. Six months after his enlistment, Pacquiao was promoted to the next rank of technical sergeant and on Oct. 7, 2007, and then he was promoted to master sergeant. He was elevated to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant on May 4, 2009. Military officials had reservations on promoting him to the officers’ rank as this requires a college degree. However, Pacquiao’s honorary doctorate degree on humanities conferred by the Southwestern University in Cebu on Feb. 18, 2009, served the purpose, and also his election as Sarangani congressman in May last year. - VVP, GMA News