Alabel, SARANGANI – Rep. Manny Pacquiao said he is donating an initial P3 million (US$74,300) to match the same amount allocated by Senator Francisco Pangilinan for the construction of an additional Regional Trial Court building in Sarangani.

Pacquiao made the commitment in front of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona who led the groundbreaking ceremonies at the provincial capitol compound in Alabel, Sarangani.

Congress earlier passed a law creating five additional regional trial courts (RTC) in the province.

Two of them will be located inside the provincial complex while the towns of Malungon, Kiamba and Glan will each house the other RTCs. Sarangani has only one RTC sala.

Sarangani Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez said the additional RTC branches will help expedite the disposition of cases pending before the lone regional trial court in the province.

Dominguez said the number of pending cases at the RTC branch in Sarangani has reached more than 800.

He added that when he assumed as governor in 2004, the provincial jail was crowded beyond its capacity of 250 inmates.  At that time, the detainees numbered close to 500 inmates.

Both Pacquiao and Dominguez also got firm commitment from the mayors of Glan, Malungon and Kiamba to donate lots where the other RTC branches will be constructed.

Pacquiao said he hopes the additional RTC building in Alabel will be finished before October this year as he also announced that he and Gov. Dominguez are scouting for an area where the provincial hospital will be built.

“Hopefully,” Pacquiao said, “the groundbreaking for the provincial hospital will be held before I fight in May.”

Pacquiao will defend his welterweight title against Shane Mosley in Las Vegas on May 7 this year.

He will start training in Baguio this month and will leave for the US in April to wind up his preparation for the Mosley fight.