Comelec will not stop airing of Pacquiao bout

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) will not stop the airing of the upcoming bout between Rep. Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley despite claims that the fight will give the senatorial candidate an advantage over his rivals.

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Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista on Tuesday said the commission decided not to take action on the manifestations filed by former Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello and former Senator Rene Saguisag.

Bautista said that based on the outcome of a study by the Comelec Law Department, that there was no need to take any action primarily because no formal complaint was filed against Pacquiao.

The Comelec en banc, Bautista said, also pointed out that the fight has not occurred and that “it might or it might not happen.”

“The Comelec en banc believes, at this point, (that there is) no justiciable controversy,” the Comelec chief said.

Bello and Saguisag, in separate letters, have sought clarification on the implications of the Pacquiao fight scheduled on April 9 (April 10 in Manila).

The duo expressed the belief that election laws would be violated by Pacquiao if his boxing fight would proceed as scheduled.

Bautista maintained, though, that the Comelec is not in a position at present to stop the airing of the fight in the Philippines.

“The right thing to do is if someone is aggrieved a formal complaint should be filed in accordance with Comelec rules and procedures. It must be very specific if what rules of the Omnibus Election Code or the implementing rules and regulations of the Fair Elections Act have been violated,” the poll chief added. “We will act if a formal complaint is filed.”

He explained that being a quasi-judicial body, the Comelec is not supposed to rule on hypothetical or contingent possibilities, but on factual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable.

“We cannot operate in terms of possibilities. We do not give hypothetical opinion, advisory opinions as a quasi-judicial body. It’s the same with the Supreme Court and other courts,” Bautista explained.

Pacquiao’s lawyers had said that the 12-round bout between Pacquaio and Bradley, at three minutes per round, will only last for 36 minutes and may even be cut short in the event of a knockout during the early rounds.

“Thus, assuming but not admitting that said fight could be considered as political advertisement, surely, there would be no unfair advantage on the part of Pacquiao because he would still be well within the allotted 120 minutes TV advertisements which right is also enjoyed by other candidates,” they said.

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