Manny de­nies Krista af­fair, of­fers apol­ogy

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Bayani San Diego Jr.

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.

Ranil­los re­act

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.”

Po­lit­i­cal plans

“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.’”

Child-like Krista

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.”

First time

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.”

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