MALACANANG enjoined the public to render the same unity and support that they have shown Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao to the forthcoming elections on May 10.

The call was made as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded Pacquiao for his continued display of "unselfish patriotism and unyielding perseverance" as he defetaed Ghanaian boxer Joshua Clottey during the "The Event" fight in Texas, United States.

President Arroyo, in a statement released by Presidential Spokesman Ricardo Saludo, said the nation again rejoices with and congratulates Pacquiao for forging another victory for the country.

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"We take heart in Manny's proven formula of unselfish patriotism and unyielding perseverance. Sa pagkakaisa at pagsisikap, nagwaging muli si Manny para sa bayan. Ito rin ang ating landas tungo sa tagumpay ng sambayanan," Arroyo said.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar said Malacanang joins the jubilation for Pacquaio’s latest conquest as he again proved to the world that the Filipino talent and determination set us apart from the rest of the world.

"With the help of God, the country once again united in prayer and support behind our champion, with spectacular results. God willing, this same unity will see us through as we open yet another chapter in our nation’s history," Olivar said referring to the upcoming elections.

He furthered that the forthcoming elections is necessary as the Filipinos exercise their "most cherished right" to elect the next leaders of the land who would be tasked to set the course of the country's future.

"Though we have accomplished much in the last nine years, a lot still needs to be done. We need to muster the same courage and strength that Manny Pacquiao exemplified, in order to rise above the politics of hate and fear. This is the only way we can rightfully choose the leaders who are up to the challenges of our time," he said.

"The Palace has faith that we will make the right choice as the same way that we showed once again our faith in our champion’s ability in the ring. Together with a proud nation, we thank you Manny, for giving us a reason to join hands as we reach the crossroads of history," he added.

Nacionalista Party bet and Senator Manny Villar meanwhile said Pacquiao’s victory is a testament of a person who overcame obstacles to be successful.

“Ang karangalang paulit-ulit nang ibinigay sa ating bansa ni Manny Pacquiao ay patunay lamang na walang balakid kailanman ang maaaring humadlang sa taong masidhing nagpupunyagi, isang taong may sipag at tiyaga,” Villar said in a statement.

Personnels of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their dependents and civilian employees also witnessed the live coverage of the Pacquiao-Clottey fight in AFP Wellness Center and at the general headquarters granstand.

More than 2,000 spectators viewed the fight in projectors and electronic billboarss installed in the areas.

On the other hand, AFP chief General Delfin Bangit watched the fight at the AFP Medical Center with wounded and ailing soldiers. After the fight, Bangit congratulated the “people’s champ.”

“Once again, Manny Pacquiao brought honor to the country with his victory. The AFP soldiers continue to draw inspiration from him being an AFP reservist. He displayed exceptional skills and stamina in his last bout reflective of trained and well-disciplined soldier,” said Bangit.

Simultaneously, the Pacquiao-Clottey fight was aired live at the Philippine Army gymnasium, the Bonifacio Naval Station at Fort BOnifacio and at the Philippine Air Force gymnasium at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

“We are happy because his (Pacquiao) win was obvious. It was obvious that he was not going to lose. To me and to the soldiers, what he showed will be another inspiration for us,” said Bangit.

Bangit said Pacquiao displayed Skills, Stamina and Spirit (SSS) which are taught to Scout Ranger soldiers. “Manny showed the three S… What Manny showed to the fighters. What Manny showed is good to the troops who are also fighting (against threat groups),” he said.

Pacquiao holds the rank of senior master sergeant in the Army reserve force.

Live screening for a cause

At the University of the Philippines (UP) in Quezon City, more than 1,800 fans trooped to the UP Theatre to witness the Pacquiao-Clottey fight.

The UP Scintilla Juris Alumni Inc. (UPSJAI) led by its president, lawyer Joseph Mabilog, organized the live screening of the boxing champ's bout for a cause. Other officials of the fraternity who were present Sunday were treasurer Jun Ravanes and secretary of the board Rey Ablanida.

In an interview with Sun.Star, organizers said they were satisfied of the turnout in the live feed that costs P350 per person.

“The proceeds of the project will go to our free UPCAT review, ito yung entrance exam sa UP, tapos yung Law Aptitude Exam for the UP College of Law. So yung bulk ng proceeds nito mapupunta sa projects namin and the rest sa mga projects ng mga resident brods namin at sa UPSJ Alumni,” said Ablanida.

He added that they are considering another showing of Pacquiao’s future fights, especially the anticipated showdown with undefeated super featherweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“Hinihintay ng mga tao yun eh, so definitely that would be an option," Ablanida said while thanking everyone who showed up at the UP Theatre and watched the fight.

The predominantly male crowd however were not really that satisfied with the win as only few people applauded when announcer Michael Buffer declared Pacquiao as the winner.

Seasoned broadcaster and Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial bet Rey Langit also watched "The event," at UP with his campaign posters and pocket calendars distributed to boxing fans.

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Langit meanwhile failed to predict the outcome of the fight, as he saw a knockout win by Pacquiao in the eighth or ninth round.

‘Generally peaceful’

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said the situation was “generally peaceful and orderly” during the duration of the bout.

“Please be informed that per monitoring of all regions, [the] situation is generally peaceful and orderly," PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina said in a text message.

He added that police forces “worked and patrolled nationwide to ensure crimes will be prevented."

The police always reports low crime incidence whenever Pacquiao enters the ring because every Filipino is glued to their television sets.

Politics next

Langit said that Pacquiao should now face his next big bout, a second try in politics as congressman of Saranggani province in Mindanao.

“Dapat atupagin na ni Manny ang mismong fight niya sa kanyang hometown, sapagkat mukhang mabigat din ang kanyang kalaban, mukhang heavyweight ang kanyang kalaban dun,” he said.

Pacquiao will run against Roy Chiongbian, a top executive of Eastern Shipping Lines for the lone district of Sarangani.

The Chiongbian family earlier said in interviews that his immense popularity in boxing would not be enough to bring him to victory in 2010.

In 2007, Pacquiao lost to incumbent Darlene Antonino-Custodio when he ran for congressman in the first district of South Cotabato by a margin of 37,000 votes.(Virgil Lopez/JMR/VR/Sunnex)