Manila, Philippines – Philippine boxing pride and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao spent over P8 million to give his 285 colleagues in the House of Representatives an early Christmas present.
Since Monday, members of Pacquiao’s staff were seen distributing expensive wristwatches reportedly worth P29,500 each.
The billionaire congressman is the first solon to distribute Christmas gifts which has become an annual tradition among members of the House.
The Pacquiao gifts became the top topic of discussions among solons as they many wondered how much one watch had cost the former world boxing champ.
A lawmaker revealed that said his gift still had a price tag indicating that the wristwatch is worth P29,500.
It is unusual for congressmen to receive expensive gifts from colleagues as most House members gift each other native delicacies and products from their provinces.
“I am reminded of a Manila colleague who was reported to have distributed Rolex watches which turned out to be bogus,“ a House old timer recounted. He was apparently referring to the Christmas presents distributed by former Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez during his term as congressman.
While Jimenez was criticized by the media, the report that the Rolex watches were fake was not fully confirmed.
What was confirmed was the fact that Jimenez had gifted lawmakers representing poor congressional districts cash ranging from P50,000 to P100,000, aside from giving them Rolex.
Jimenez has been listed among the top 10 richest congressmen when he was elected to represent Manila during the 11th Congress.
Pacquiao topped the list of wealthiest solons in the 15th Congress, with over P1 billion declared net worth in his 2011 Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN). (Ben R. Rosario)
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