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article imageEx-Senator Saguisag joins Bello in call to halt Pacquiao fight

By Leo Reyes     Mar 2, 2016 in Sports
The Commission of Elections (Comelec) may not have the authority to stop or even postpone the upcoming Pacquiao-Bradley fight, as suggested by senatorial candidate Walden Bello, who claims it will give Pacquiao more media mileage during the campaign.
Pacquiao, who is facing Bradley on April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, is seeking a senate seat in the May 9 national elections in the Philippines.
Before filing his petition with Comelec, Bello said in a press conference that Pacquiao will have a tremendous advantage over other candidates as the fight will have massive advertising exposure for the incumbent Sarangani congressman, who is now in the Magic 12 winning candidates in recent surveys.
“There are limits to political advertising. 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 in a news release Thursday, Feb. 18.
Bello's petition is supported by former senator Rene Saguisag who sent Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista a letter asking for the postponement of the fight.
“We cannot have this, him training and willy-nilly getting free publicity, in this scofflaw nation. Please advise him to reset the fight,” said Saguisag in his letter.
In his comment on Saguisag's letter, Bautista thinks it is possible to block the airing of promotional ads but stopping the fight is another thing.
“Maybe that is possible,” he said, when asked if the Comelec had the authority to block the fight broadcast. “As you all know, we have some form of control, regulatory supervision over entities… during an election period. But as to whether we can stop Pacquiao from fighting, that’s different.”
“It’s not the question of his boxing. The question is, is there a violation of the Fair Elections Act by the fact that he’s running for national office and that he gets this kind of TV exposure?” Bautista said.
Meanwhile, Bautista said the poll body has given Pacquiao five days to comment on the Bello petition.
“After the comment is filed, we will take it up again in the en banc. We have to decide ASAP given that the fight is set on April 9,” Bautista said in a press briefing.
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