February 21, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – Independent senatorial candidate Walden Bello will formally file his complaint to disqualify boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao from the Senate race before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) tomorrow morning (Feb. 22).
The former Akbayan party list representative will be accompanied by his legal counsel Milabel Cristobal and a contingent of supporters in filing the complaint.
Last week, Bello asked Pacquiao to voluntarily postpone his fight with American boxer Timothy Bradley on April 9 as this would put him in violation of Comelec rules limiting political advertisements.
Bello said the fight will give Pacquiao “tremendous advantage against most of the other candidates in the race for the Senate” since it will be televised and will receive huge media attention.
He pointed out that Pacquiao’s boxing match can be considered as “political advertisements” that violate Comelec Resolution 9615 issued in 2013.
The said resolution expands the definition of “political advertisements” that include appearances on TV shows and radio programs, which are not covered by the Comelec hour.
“In broadcast media, political advertisements may take the form of spots, appearances on TV shows and radio programs, live or taped announcements, teasers, and other forms of advertising messages or announcements used by commercial advertisers,” the resolution reads.
As a senatorial candidate, Bello said Pacquiao “should abide by the same rules as everyone else.”
The complaint of Bello is also a response to Comelec chair Andres Bautista’s statement last Thursday that the poll body would welcome a formal complaint to be able to look into the issue.
Bautista said a lawyer is already reviewing if Pacquiao will violate any election rule if he pursues the fight.
The eight-time world boxing champion is running under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).