The barangay captain who has accused Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and his bodyguards of ganging up on him two days before the elections said on Wednesday that he will not back down in pressing charges against the boxing champion and his men.
Alfredo Belgica, who heads Barangay San Jose in General Santos City, told The Manila
Times he will pursue the filing of formal charges against Pacquiao and his bo dy guards before the court.
Belgica said he had to lie low for a while because he was receiving death threats lately.
On May 13, the Times reported that Belgica was attacked by the bodyguards of Pacquiao and the boxing icon later joined the fray. The incident happened on the night of May 11.
“Why can’t Pacquiao just admit that he was among those who threw punches at me and who shoved me away before his bodyguards ganged up on me? I was interviewed by the local media but my statement was muddled. I am now the villain,” said Belgica.
According to Belgica, the Achievers with Integrity Movement (AIM) party of incumbent city Mayor Darlene Antonino–Custodio assured him of support if he files a case against Pacquiao. He said his lawyers are preparing the documents and evidence, including photos on how Pac quiao entered Barangay San Jose to distribute rice, goods and money to the residents.
“I and my lawyers are documenting all evidence and photos in order to file the formal charges against Pacquiao and his bodyguards. Just give us a little time because we are not afraid to file the charges against congressman Pacquiao. We will prove that I am telling the truth,” Belgica said.
He said that he has photos of Pacquiao’s convoy and the trucks loaded with rice and other goods.
“It wasn’t my intention to pursue the case because the elections are finished but they’re making me a liar and they concocted a story that I started the brawl and even fired my gun,” Belgica said.
“…dahil ba binayaran na nila lahat ng media kung kaya ganon na lamang ang ginagawa nilang pagsisinungaling? [Is it because they paid the media to peddle their lies?],” he added.
Pacquiao’s camp claims that it was Belgica who started the melee by firing a gun.
To prove that he was not carrying a gun during the time of the incident, Belgica said he voluntary had a paraffin test.
“The paraffin test was negative,” he said.
On May 11, Belgica questioned Pacquiao’s distribution of rice, goods and money to the constituents of Barangay San Jose. Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, was running for vice governor of the province. She won.
He questioned Pacquiao’s presence in San Jose in General Santos City when he represents the lone congressional district of Sarangani province.
Belgica even quoted the lawmaker as telling him “maliit lang itong barangay mo kapitan at kaya kong tunawin ito at wala akong kinatatakutan kahit sino dito sa General Santos [You have a small barangay, captain, and I can have this dissolved. I fear no one in General Santos].”
He said that since the incident, suspicious-looking men have been casing his house every night.
Belgica also claimed that he has been receiving numerous death threats through text messages and other means.
“I have no known enemies except the Pacquiao camp,” he said.
Pacquiao’s lawyer, Franklin “Jheng” Gacal, said “politics” was behind the latest attacks against his client, while other sources in Pacquiao’s camp said it was the boxing superstar who filed charges against Belgica for allegedly harassing nine followers of Pacquiao who were then transporting rice for their gro up’s consumption.
Once source claimed that Belgica threw stones at the van carrying Pacquiao’s followers and then fired his gun into the air.
The source said Pacquiao, who was informed about the incident, rushed to the village with his lawyers and confronted Belgica.
The lawmaker, according to the source, was also dismayed by the failure of the police to arrest Belgica for firing his gun and for harassing his followers. Pac quiao has reportedly threatened to file charges also against the policemen.
Belgica is a known supporter of Pacquiao’s political rivals.
“Manny knows that this incident happened because it was election time. He also said that he will just focus on his job and training,” Gacal said.
Pacquiao, 34, is preparing for a comeback fight on November 24 in Macau, China against Mexican American Brandon Rios. He is expected to start training in July.
With a report from Josef T. Ramos