KUALA LUMPUR – “I hope and pray that Manny wins, so I can have a happy birthday celebration.”
Thus, declared Manny Pacquiao’s father Rosalio in halting Tagalog when chance upon Friday by this writer at the Le Meridiene Hotel lobby where members of his family, team, friends, and supporters are billeted for his fight with World Boxing Association welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse set Sunday here.
Mang Rosalio said he will be celebrating his natal day on July 29, adding he has invited all his sons and daughters to the occasion whether Manny wins or not in this, his comeback fight.
“Pupunta sila lahat sa bahay at siyempre mas masaya kung mananalo si Manny, the old man said.
Asked whether his estranged wife, Dionsia, their children’s mother, is, also invited, Mang Rosalio just smiled, saying, “birthday ko yun kaya lahat imbitado.”
Mang Rosalio was separated from his family when Manny was in sixth grade after Aleng Dionisa, popularly known as “Mommy D” discovered the old man was secretly living with another woman.
Mang Rosalio is here with hew wife Alma and their lone son to watch Manny fight. Mommy D, of course, is also here with new husband Michel Yamson, Manny’s brothers Bobby and Congressman Roel and sister Sidra and their families.
Also in KL in full force are Manny’s better half Jinkee and children Jimwell, Michael, Princess, Qeennie, and Israel.
Joining Jinkee in the trip here are her sisters Haydee and Janet and husband Tibo, brothers Odoy and Dondon and their children.
Manny’s friends and congressional allies, meanwhile, have started to arrive in this Malaysian capital. Seen already here are Congressmen and long-time friends Toby Tiangco and Lito Atienza.
Also here is the Director of the Bureau of Corrections Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa. President Duterte is also reported to be coming to watch the fight along with Manny’s allies in the Senate.
By EDDIE G. ALINEA