Comelec will not stop Pacman fight

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The bout between boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and American Timothy Bradley on April 9 (April 10 in Manila) in Las Vegas will be broadcast live here after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday made a unanimous decision that it is not within its power to stop the telecast.

“That is not within our control. We are not in a position right now to stop it because of the three parameters that we found,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said.

Bautista said the poll body in full session yesterday agreed to allow the April 9 fight broadcast since “there was really no formal complaint that was filed in accordance with Comelec rules and procedures.”

Bautista added the fight had not occurred yet.

“It’s still contingent. There is a possibility of it happening, but it has not happened yet,” he said.

Bautista said the Comelec believes that there is no “justiciable controversy” to rule against Pacquiao to proceed with the airing of the fight.

“Courts are not supposed to rule on hypothetical or contingent possibility. We are supposed to rule on actual controversy involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,” he said.

Former Akbayan party-list representative Walden Bello and former senator Rene Saguisag had asked the Comelec to determine if the telecast of the Pacquiao-Bradley bout would violate election laws, noting that the Sarangani representative is also running for senator in the May 9 polls.

They complained that the international and local media coverage of the fight would give Pacquiao undue advantage over other senatorial candidates.

The Comelec sought Pacquiao’s comment, through his lawyer Romulo Macalintal.

“It was referred to the Law Department for study and the Law Department came up with its recommendation which was discussed by the en banc during the meeting. After that we came up with our decision,” Bautista said.

Bautista, however, did not categorically say if Comelec was allowing the broadcast of the fight.

“We are not saying about allowing or stopping the fight… those three parameters speak for itself. This is the Comelec acting in its quasi-judicial capacity. Those who think they are aggrieved, I guess they can take a cue as to what they should do,” he added.

Bautista assured the public that Comelec will act immediately on the issue if a formal complaint will be filed.

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