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Pacman fight won’t violate election rules, says lawyer

MANILA, Philippines - The April 9 fight of boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao with Timothy Bradley will not violate election rules, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said yesterday.

He was commenting on the call of former Akbayan lawmaker Walden Bello for Pacquiao to postpone his fight or face disqualification.

Both Bello and the boxing champion are senatorial candidates.

Bello said he would file a complaint with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday against his former colleague in the House of Representatives.

“There is no provision in election laws that would justify any complaint to disqualify Pacquiao just because of the April 9 boxing event,” Macalintal said.

He said if there is a violation of election rules, a criminal case has to be filed against the boxing champion and only after a conviction could he be disqualified.

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“No election offense case could be filed against Pacquiao because he is not violating any provision of election laws that would justify the filing of a criminal case against him,” he said.

He added that even if there is an offense, it could not be prosecuted in the country, as the boxing match will be held in Las Vegas in the United States.

Macalintal conceded that the event would give Pacquiao media mileage.

He said the boxing champion “cannot be held liable for media coverage because it is a matter between the media entity and the promoter of the fight, which Pacquiao has nothing to do with.”

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said on Thursday the poll body would study whether the fight would violate the Fair Elections Law.

In asking Pacquiao to postpone the April 9 event, Bello said it would give the boxing champion tremendous media publicity and undue advantage over other senatorial candidates.

This is the reason why celebrities, radio and television personalities and media persons are required to take a leave of absence from their job if they are candidates for public office, he said.

He said candidates endorsing commercial products in the media are asked to stop such endorsements.

The Comelec should apply the same standards on Pacquiao, he added.

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