MANILA — Senatorial candidate Walden Bello has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to determine if the scheduled boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley would be violating existing campaign rules, including the Fair Elections Act.
In a seven-page petition, Bello wants the poll body to decide if the Filipino boxing great, who is also running for a senatorial seat under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), would have a “distinct advantage” over fellow aspirants for the said post.
“What the Commission is called upon to consider and, if it deems necessary, to take action regarding the scheduled boxing contest of a senatorial candidate, Manny Pacquiao, on April 9, 2016. Bearing in mind the stature of Mr. Pacquiao as a boxer, and his previous boxing bouts, which were covered widely by the media, the bout will surely give him extensive media exposure, giving him a distinct advantage over other senatorial bets,” he said.
Bello cites the following advantages, namely: the extensive media coverage both local and international, the massive exposure afforded to the Sarangani representative as a boxer and a candidate, and the income that can be earned by boxing champ from the pay-per-view revenue and the product endorsements airing during the fight.
“Wherefore, it is most respectfully prayed that the Honorable Commission study the aforementioned situation concerning the senatorial candidate Pacquiao, and for it to take the appropriate steps that it may deem proper to enforce Comelec Resolution No. 10049 and Republic Act No. 9006,” the petitioner said.
Bello added, “It behooves the Commission to put the situation under intense scrutiny and study and for it to take action, under its mandate to enforce, administer election-related laws and ensure that the regulations are appropriately implemented and followed.”
On April 9, Pacquiao will be facing the American boxer at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is their third time to face each other.
The former party-list lawmaker is hoping that the Comelec will act on his petition.
“We are confident that the Comelec will make a ruling on this and we leave it to them to determine what action to take, like, maybe, to advise the candidate to postpone the fight,” Bello said in an interview.
With this, he urged the 37-year-old Filipino boxer to move for the postponement of the fight until after the May 9 polls.
“I feel that Pacquiao will respect fair play. He is a sportsman. My hope is he will postpone the fight. That is the best resolution of this issue,” said Bello.
R.A. 9006 provides that the Comelec shall ensure that radio or television or cable television broadcasting entities shall not allow the scheduling of any program or permit any sponsor to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or political party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or including said candidate and/or political party in such program
Under Comelec Resolution No. 10049, it is considered a prohibited form of election propaganda “to show, display, or exhibit publicly in a theater, through a television station, or any public forum any movie, cinematography or documentary, including concert or any type of performance portraying the life or biography of a candidate, or in which a character is portrayed by an actor or media personality, who is himself or herself a candidate.”
It is also prohibited “for any radio, television, cable television station, announcer or broadcaster to allow the scheduling of any program or permit any sponsor to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or unnecessarily mentioning his name, including said candidate or party.” Ferdinand Patinio/PNA/northboundasia.com