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article imageOp-Ed: Election rule puts Pacquiao-Bradley fight in peril

By Leo Reyes     Feb 18, 2016 in Sports
Manny Pacquiao may have to postpone his April 9 fight against Timothy Bradley or face disqualification as a senatorial candidate in the upcoming national elections in the Philippines, which will take place on May 9, 2016.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking into applicable provisions on specific Comelec ruling that prohibits candidate from endorsing certain products or services that can enhance his image or popularity while campaigning for an elective post.
The Comelec action came about after senatorial candidate Walden Bello said Pacquiao may be violating the election body's rule on endorsements. He cited Comelec resolution No. 9615 which says: "In broadcast media, political advertisements may take the form of spots, appearances on TV shows and radio programs, live or taped announcements, teasers, and other forms of advertising messages or announcements used by commercial advertisers."
Bello stated that Pacquiao will have 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.
While Bello can file a disqualification case against Pacquiao based on the Comelec rule, the poll body may find the case irrelevant as the fight is taking place in another country and governed by the applicable rules of that country.
The fight has nothing to do with the elections in the Philippines and its promoters have no control over the publicity that spills over to the local media.
What Bello can do is to ask concerned agencies of government to ban the inflow of information about the fight but it may not work because the information would still come in the form of news and not as advertising or promotions for the fight.
Most likely, Pacquiao and Bradley's promoter Bob Arum will turn down Bello's request for postponement of the fight to a later date after the May 9 elections, as he will have to deal with rescheduling of fighters in the undercard who may have already set dates for their next fights.
Arum will likewise have to negotiate with a new venue and set a new date for the fight which is not at all an easy job to do for the 84-year-old promoter.
Aside from the additional expenses that will be incurred for the scheduling, Arum will have to deal with other changes that will be made as a result of the postponement.
Arum's option would be to cancel the fight if the Comelec decides in favor of Bello.
Obviously it would be unfair not only for the promoter and other stakeholders but to Pacquiao, Bradley and the rest of the fighters in the undercard who will be deprived of their in their rightful income in the exercise of their profession.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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