The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday arrested three Americans, including a Filipino naturalized US citizen, for allegedly using the name of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao in their campaign to raise donations to fight dengue and malaria. In an interview, Pacquiao said he sought the help of NBI upon learning that Anthony Musso, Edward Gutierrez and former Filipino citizen Nora Llaniguez had put his picture, without his consent or knowledge, on their websites www.partnersagainstmalaria.org, www.stampoutmalaria.org and www.buyactrx.org. “Hiniling namin na mainbestigahan itong mga taong ito na gumagamit ng pangalan ko nang hindi ko alam, without my authority. Nagpost sila ng picture ko sa internet nang hindi ko alam," the congressman complained.
(We requested that these persons using my name without my knowledge, without my authority, be investigated. They posted my picture on the Internet without my knowledge.) The three were seeking donations to allegedly help “millions of children who get malaria and dengue fever," by buying medicines which the three themselves were also selling. Lawyer Eric Nuqui, NBI-National Capital Region supervising agent, said the three will be brought to the NBI office for further investigation to see if they should be charged with estafa. American trio approached Pacquiao before
“Unfair naman sa akin na magpost sila ng picture ko at manghingi ng donation nang hindi ko alam. Kawawa naman yung mga tao na nagdodonate sila sa akin na hindi ko alam [It’s unfair for them to ask for donations using my picture without my knowledge. People they solicited donations from just got misled]," Pacquiao said. The lawmaker said the three had first approached him in Baguio this year. Since he was busy in training, he endorsed them to his chief of staff, lawyer Jeng Gacal. Gacal said, in a separate interview, that the three had wanted to make Pacquiao part of their foundation. Gacal turned down the request because the three insisted on peddling a certain type of medicine they were selling. “Lumapit sa amin na gusto isama si Manny sa foundation. Ang plano ay magdonate ng pera worldwide at the amount donated will be used for malaria and dengue, yun produkto rin nila," he said. (They approached us asking to include Manny in the foundation. The plan was to donate money worldwide, and the amount donated will be used for fighting malaria and dengue, also with their products.)
In a press release lifted from the group’s website, the group claimed Pacquiao had joined them as one of the “founding partners" of the Partners Against Malaria Foundation. Gacal said Pacquiao was in the US for his fight against Antonio Margarito when they were alerted that the eight-world-title boxing champion’s picture was for a time posted on the website. “Ang concern naming, baka me nabiktima na [Our concern is that during that time, there already might have been victims]," Gacal said. Claims and denials made by 3 Americans
Pacquiao said the three even accused his staff of extortion. “Ang sabi nila nanghihingi daw ang staff ko ng P20 million sa kanila para mai-set sila nang meeting sa akin. Nung inimbestigahan ko ang staff ko hindi naman tutoo [The three accused my staff of asking for P20 million to set a meeting with me. But I found out this wasn’t true]," he said. Musso, in an interview with reporters, denied the allegations, saying that he is involved in a legitimate anti-malaria campaign. He added that he lives in Cebu with his Cebuana wife. Gutierrez said their foundation is based in Makati, although he could not give the exact address. “We came to help this country and those who are dying of malaria and dengue. Our product is a very effective product that is saving lives worldwide and this is the reason why we are here," Gutierrez said. Llaniguez said they had several talks with Pacquiao in the past and came only to seek his help in promoting their product. – MRT/JV, GMANews.TV
Reposted From GMA News.TV