Pacquiao cannot be disqualified even if Bradley bout pushes through—lawyer
Filipino boxing champion and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao cannot be disqualified from seeking a senate seat in the upcoming elections in May even if the scheduled April 9 fight with Timothy Bradley pushes through, election law expert Atty. Romulo Macalintal said Friday.
Macalintal said there is nothing in election laws that would justify disqualifying Pacquiao if he pushed through with the fight.
Former Congressman and fellow senatorial candidate Walden Bello said Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution 9615 issued in 2013 has expanded the definition of “political advertisement” to include media appearances in shows that are not covered by the Comelec hour.
“This globally and nationally televised fight a month before the elections would mean hours and hours of coverage before, during, and after the fight. This media attention, supplemented by national pay-per-view television coverage during the fight, would be massive free advertising,” Bello said.
“It would give him a tremendous advantage against most of the other candidates in the race for the Senate,” he added suggesting that Pacquiao postpone the fight or risk being disqualified.
However, Macalintal said if there is any violation of election laws, a criminal complaint has to be filed and only after conviction can Pacquiao or any candidate be disqualified from seeking public office either by election or appointment.
Macalintal added that even if there is any offense that Pacquiao would be violating under Philippine laws, it could not be imposed because the fight will be held in Las Vegas where our country’s courts have no jurisdiction.
“Even if there is any offense defined under Philippine laws, the same could not be imposed against Pacquiao because the fight will be held in Las Vegas City and our courts, under the doctrine of territoriality, have no jurisdiction over offenses committed by a person outside the territory of the Philippines, except if it involves national security of the country. For sure, the Pacquiao-Bradley fight is not covered by such exception,” Macalintal added.
He added that even media entities covering the fight cannot be held liable.
Section 86 of the Omnibus Election Code recognizes “the right of media entities to broadcast accounts of significant or newsworthy events and views on matters of public interest.”
“Surely, the said boxing event is a newsworthy event and a historical one as it will feature the last or final fight of Pacquiao who is considered as pride of the Filipino people as a world class fighter,” Macalintal said adding that “Pacquiao cannot be held liable for media coverage because it is a matter between the media entity and the promoter of the fight of which Pacquiao has nothing to do.” RAM
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