Manny Pacquiao’s recent legal woes involving the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) have played out in very public, very messy fashion.
And perhaps because of how messy the situation is, he's gotten almost zero in the way of support from his peers.
Mind you, nobody has really come out and publicly defended the Filipino champion from the charges being made against him. Sure Bob Arum and Freddie Roach have said a few positive things about this whole situation but, by and large, almost everyone has steered clear of discussing Pacquiao’s legal/tax problems.
In a statement on Thursday, Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. came out and offered the first real words of support for Pacquiao that we’ve seen from an influential figure since this whole thing began. Here was his take (via ABS-CBN):
"This is not the way to treat someone who we all consider as a contemporary hero, who has brought great honor and pride to the country," Revilla said in a statement.
Revilla said he understands that it is part of the BIR's job to ensure proper collection of taxes, but he does not support the way the agency went about the case against Pacquiao.
"I am certain it is not part of their job description to shame people publicly and make circuses out of circumstances," Revilla said.
The BIR, of course, is currently pursuing legal action against the champ for his alleged refusal to provide them with requested tax information. While Pacquiao has come out and called what the government is doing to him “harassment,” he hasn’t actually denied that he didn’t provide the BIR with information they were seeking. (Which is what he's being accused of.)
And while we noted how odd it was that Pacquiao wouldn’t simply put this issue to rest by submitting the necessary information and moving on, we do also agree with Revilla’s sentiment. Much in the same way that Pacquiao doesn’t need to make a big thing out of this mess, neither does the BIR. They can pursue their legal action or whatever they feel is necessary against Pacquiao, but they certainly don’t need to wage war on the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world through the media in order to do it.
With this impressive new endorsement and backing from Revilla in his pocket, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Pacquiao starts getting more public support from his peers.