Monday, November 8, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CA (via Pera Padala) – A lot of seats will be vacant in the House of Representatives when Congress opens its session Monday.
The reason is at least more than 50 members of the Lower House are reportedly in the United States to watch the fight of their fellow lawmaker, seven-division champion Manny Pacquiao against Mexican three-time titlist Antonio Margarito Nov. 13 (Nov. 14 in Manila).
Pacquiao, the World Boxing Organization welterweight titleholder, and Margarito, known in the international boxing world as the “Tijuana Tornado,” dispute the World Boxing Council super-welterweight championship at the huge $1.2 million Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington,Texas.
Sources in Team Pacquiao, who requested anonymity revealed that the number of congressmen presently here in Los Angeles to join their colleague’s group bloated the entourage flying to Arlington Monday and forced Pacquiao to charter a bigger plane going to the site of the bout.
Members of Monday’s entourage, sources said, reached at least 200.
They said they are going on invitation of Pacquiao, who will undertake their plane and hotel expenses.
Members of the country’s rich and powerful as well as national and local government officials, cabinet members and entertainment personalities are also joining the trip.
House top officials disclosed that since Congress is not in session majority of its members have filed requests with the office of Speaker Sonny Belmonte to travel to different international destinations.
They, in fact, feared that Monday’s opening of session might be held without a quorum since most of those who requested travel authorities have yet to report in their offices.
Belmonte himself announced even before the close of the last session that he would watch the Pacquiao fight himself although it was not sure whether he proceeded with the trip.
At least seven members of media covering the House have also been raffled off to join the Texas exodus under the expense of Pacquiao, reports also said.
Lawmakers, including senators and members of the cabinet, their wives and children, have always been a permanent fixtures in all fights whether they be championship or title defenses.
In one of Pacquiao’s fights held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the world pound-for-pound king had reportedly spent more than $650,000.
Members of the Filipino community here, meanwhile, denounce the government officials and even members of the business community and entertainment for joining the trip which they said is proof of their lack of concern for their poor constituents, especially victims of the recent floods that hit Central and Northern Luzon.
Echoing the sentiment expressed by the Pamalakaya fisherfolks in the two regions calling for all government officials concerned instead channel their resources, whether coming from their own pocket or the government to the victims of those calamities.