Walden Bello to Pacquiao: Hold off Bradley bout or risk DQ
Independent senatorial candidate Walden Bello on Thursday opined that boxer Manny Pacquiao can face possible disqualification from the Senate race should he decide to push through with his April 9 fight against Timothy Bradley.
Bello warned the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial hopeful that if he would not postpone his fight against Bradley, it would constitute a violation of election laws.
“Manny is a great boxer, and I am a fan, but now that he is also a senatorial candidate, he needs to understand that election laws must apply to everyone,” Bello said in a statement on Thursday.
The former Akbayan party-list representative said that the fight will generate hours of coverage before, during and after the fight, which will supposedly give Pacquiao “ tremendous advantage against most of the other candidates in the race for the Senate.”
“He should either postpone the fight, or risk being disqualified from the Senatorial elections,” he said.
Bello said that Pacquiao’s April 9 fight can be considered as “political advertisements” under the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) expanded definition of the term. Comelec Resolution No. 9615, issued in 2013, said: “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 same definition of “political advertisements” was adopted in Comelec Resolution No. 10049, the implementing rules and regulations for the 2016 polls.
Should Pacquiao opt to push through with the bout, which will happen during the campaign period, Bello vowed that he would campaign for the boxer’s disqualification from the Senate race.
“As a boxer and world class athlete, I’m sure Manny understands the concept of sportsmanship and fair play. As a senatorial candidate, he should abide by the same rules as everyone else. No one should have an undue advantage in terms of media coverage. No one should be above the law. He must reschedule this fight to after 9 May 2016,” the former lawmaker said.
Pacquiao recently faced backlash over his statements against the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. In a TV-5 interview, the boxer said that they are “worse than animals.”
He has since apologized for his remarks.
Nike, a long-time sponsor, has since cancelled Pacquiao’s endorsement contract for his anti-gay slurs.
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