LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao played down his role in the temporary reprieve extended by the Indonesian government to drug convict Mary Jane Veloso.
Despite being a few days away from his much-anticipated welterweight title showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr, the 36-year-old boxing great helped in the effort to save the life of a fellow Filipino by personally appealing to Indonesian president Joko Widodo.
The appeal was granted early Wednesday morning (Manila time) as Veloso was the only one spared from execution out of the nine persons convicted of drug charges.
Pacquiao however, refused to take the credit for the reprieve.
“Hindi lang naman ako 'yan. Nag-effort din naman ng malaki ang ating gobyerno at iba pang sangay upang matulungan ang isa nating kababayan na nangangailangan ng tulong,” said Pacquiao, the lone representative of the province of Sarangani in Congress and interim chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affairs.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum on Wednesday disclosed the effort made by the eight-time world division champion to save Veloso.
Pacquiao admitted his desire to get back to the country immediately after his fight with Mayweather as he looks forward to going to Indonesia and seek clemency for Veloso, so long as he is given the go-signal by President Aquino.
“Mahirap naman pumunta ng walang blessing ng Pangulo. Kailangan pa rin na i-designate ako as emissary bago ako pumunta ng Indonesia,” said Pacquiao.