It was divine intervention that prevented Senator Manny Pacquiao from attending the controversial joint press conference of his fellow presidential candidates at the Manila Peninsula in Makati last Sunday, according to his campaign manager Buddy Zamora.
The PR man pointed out that the air traffic congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) had caused the delay of Pacquiao’s arrival and his eventual failure to catch up with the presser which was attended by Manila Mayor Isko Domagoso, Senator Ping Lacson, and former defense chief Norberto Gonzales.
In an interview over ANC’s Headstart, Zamora said that Pacquaio had “every intention of joining” the presscon that he decided to fly back to Manila coming from General Santos City.
He admitted however that Pacquiao did not inform his team that he would attend the joint presser.
“ Manny Pacquiao was not in the presser because unfortunately he was coming from Gen San, and he couldn’t make it on time. He had every intention of joining the presser because he promised, this was a talk between Senator Lacson and Senator Pacquiao,” Zamora said.
“And actually, we were not privy to the invitation. We were on vacation that time. This happened on Easter Sunday. So the decision of Senator Pacquiao was made in Gen San, and without our prior knowledge,” he said.
The press conference however was wrapped up without Pacquiao because his plane had to wait mid-air for nearly an hour before it was allowed to land due to air traffic congestion.
Asked what he felt when Pacquiao failed to attend the presscon, Zamora said: “I was relieved. So I think the choice was we call it divine intervention that he was not able to make it, he was actually in the air circling around waiting for the instructions to land but unfortunately he was able to land just before 2 pm and that the presser had already finished. “
He stressed that Pacquiao agreed to join the presscon because he also shares the concern of his fellow presidentiables on persistent calls for their withdrawal. Pacquiao also agrees that there was a need to call for unity despite their rivalries.
Zamora also made it clear that Pacquiao does not support Domagoso’s call for Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw from the presidential race.
“Pacquiao believes that the choice is up to the people and since everybody filed the candidacy for the presidency, he’d want a choice to be really coming from the people, not any cause to withdraw, “ he said.
Zamora also expressed confidence Pacquiao could beat survey frontrunner Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Election Day based on his camp’s internal surveys.
“I believe that we can beat Mr. Marcos come election day, we still have about 19 days to go, Zamora said.