Manny denies Krista affair, offers apology
FINALLY, A DENIAL FROM THE POUND-for-pound king.
After weeks of speculation, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao categorically denied his alleged illicit affair with actress Krista Ranillo. He also apologized to Krista’s family for the intrigues caused by their purported non-romance.
In an interview aired on GMA7 on Sunday night and on the news program “24 Oras” yesterday, Pacquiao said in Filipino: “We’re just good friends... I didn’t mean to
destroy your family... the public just rode on the issue.”
There have been rumors circulating in the tabloids and blogs that the scandal was concocted to promote Pacquiao and Krista’s coming movie, “Wapakman,” an entry in next month’s MetroManila Film Festival.
Asked to comment on this, Pacquiao made a parting shot. “Everything will be right again after the movie opens,” he said in Filipino.
Gloria Sevilla, Krista’s grandmother, yesterday told the INQUIRER: “I heard Manny’s inter- view [Sunday night]. We are all very happy to hear Manny’s denial. He acted as a decent, educated man should. As he said: We’re just family friends.”
Sevilla has yet to hear from Krista herself. “She was badly hurt by all this, but her father (actor Mat Ranillo III) told me his entire family is pleased [with the latest development],” she said in a phone interview.
Although Sevilla played a pivotal role in the Pacquiao biopic produced by Star Cinema and FLT Films in 2006, she has never had a face-to-face encounter with the boxer.
“I spoke to him (Pacquiao) on the phone once,” she said. “But when I heard his apology (on TV), I felt relieved. To be fair, not even his wife Jinkee said anything bad against Krista. Jinkee only said that she and Manny wanted to concentrate on, and protect their family. I admire her for that.”
“For what he just did, I commend Manny for being not just a legendary boxing hero, but a true gentleman even outside the ring,” said Arnold Vegafria, Krista’s manager, who spoke to the INQUIRER by phone from Sweden yesterday.
Krista’s supporters didn’t seem to mind that the denial came on the heels of Pacquiao’s announcement that he was “100-percent sure” of running for congressman in Sarangani under his People’s Champ Movement. However, he has yet to announce his chosen political party.
“I don’t want to comment on Manny’s political plans. What is more important is that he has apologized to Krista and her family,” Vegafria said.
“It feels good—especially since it finally came from Manny himself. We were just waiting for him to make the first move,” he added.
Vegafria said Krista would be back in Manila this week to further clear the issue.
Sevilla said: “Friends tell me not to get affected by the contro- versy. I just bear in mind the Biblical adage: ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’”
Last time they talked, she advised Krista: “Don’t be too trusting and choose your friends wisely.”
Krista can be child-like and naïve, just like Pacquiao, Sevilla said. “Sometimes people misinterpret and abuse them because they are too open and friendly.”
According to Vegafria, Krista and Pacquiao only met on the first day of shooting on the set of the movie.
Topel Lee, the film’s director, said he didn’t notice anything strange during the shoot. “But that was before his training (for his recent fight with Miguel Cotto)... that was when all the rumors came out.”
Lee also said that Krista and Pacquiao were “very professional on the set.”
Ironically, the rumored lovers play “enemies” in the movie. He’s a superhero; she’s a sultry mutant-villainess.
“They had a big fight scene and they took it seriously,” Lee said. “They were very dedicated and made it a point to do their own stunts. It’s easy to work with them. Manny always lightens the mood on the set and Krista is very kind to the entire staff.”