Manny Pacquiao casts doubt on Abu Sayyaf kidnap threat, says it's old news
Manny Pacquiao on the campaign trail in Los Banos, Laguna. Snow Badua

MANNY Pacquiao on Thursday brushed off an alleged attempt by Abu Sayyaf group to kidnap him or members of his family while questioning the timing of the announcement done by Malacanang.

On Wednesday, President Aquino bared an intelligence report from the military of an alleged plan by the terrorist group to abduct Pacquiao as well as presidential sister Kris Aquino.

“Nung narinig ko yun nagulat tayo, kasi kaibigan naman natin lahat, especially yng mga kapatid nating Muslim. Tinutulungan natin ang bawat pamilya na humihingi ng tulong,” said Pacquiao in an interview during his campaign sortie in Los Banos, Laguna.

Pacquiao said he has heard about the alleged plot years before.

“Kung totoo man yung intelligence report, syempre kailangan ding tiyakin yung security ng family ko. Pero dati pa 'yan, nuong unang panahon pa yan,” he said. “Hindi pa ko naniniwala na gagawin yan ng mga kapatid natin."

Asked if he was warned by Malacanang of the alleged threat before the President's announcement, Pacquiao shook his head.

“No hindi, wala. Sa akin lang, kung 'yan ay talagang intelligence report, dapat ipaalam sa akin ng sikreto at hindi i-announce. Sabihin sa akin in advance, may doubt pa rin ako pero hindi naman natin binabalewala. Pero sabi ko nga, I doubt na magagawa yun ng mga kapatid natin,” said Pacquiao.

[See Abu Sayyaf may have plotted to kidnap Pacquiao, says PNoy]

Despite the alleged threat, Pacquiao most of the time still orders his bodyguards to allow his supporters to approach him for photo ops and selfies during campaign sorties.

"Wag, bayaan nyo lang sila," Pacquiao, who has been instrumentalin forging peace pacts in Mindanao, was heard telling his chief bodyguard Haplas Fernandez.

For the richest Filipino athlete in history, threats of kidnapping are no longer new since he skyrocketed to fame in 2003.

“Dati nang may ganyan, pero mga kabigan naman natin lahat. Pero syempre, mingat pa rin tayo, may mga security naman tayo, dinagdagan naman natin security natin,” he said.

Pacquiao said his family has remained calm amid the reported threat.

“Reaksyon ng family? Wala naman, naniniwala naman kami na ang Panginoon gagabayan kami. Hindi namin maiisip na gagawin yun kasi kaibigan naman natin lahat,” he said.

Following his successful win over Timothy Bradley April 10, Pacquiao has been busy on the campaign trail. He will visit Nueva Ecija on Friday before moving to Rizal Province and Bataan this coming weekend.

Based on the latest SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, Pacquiao is in third spot in the senatorial race behind ncumbent senators Franklin Drilon and Tito Sotto.

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