Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cayetano to Comelec: Rule ASAP on Pacquiao’s disqualification

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY -  A vice presidential candidate called the Commission on Election to decide if senatorial aspirant Manny Pacquiao is disqualified or not after he was charged with violations of the Fair Election Act (FEA) on equal access to media time and space.
CAYETANOS AND PACQUIAO. Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao
 (center) is flankedby siblings Senators Pia Cayetano and
Alan Peter Cayetano. PHOTO CREDIT.
Pacquiao, a boxing icon and Philippines’ congressman, was charged last February 22 by Akbayan Party List Rep. Walden Bello of undue publicity on his senatorial run because of the hypes created by his forthcoming Pacquiao versus Timothy Bradley rubber match in Las Vegas, Nevada in April 9.
The 90 days campaign period for the senate started last February 9 and ends on May 7, 2016.
“Ako ang tingin ko, kung ano ang magiging decision dapat gawin by regulasyon ng Comelec na desisyon kasi hinde lang naman si Manny ang pinag-uusapan natin. Pinag-uusapan natin lahat (Comelec should be decisive, it should make a regulation on their decision because we do not talk only about Manny but other candidates),” stressed by Senator Cayetano.
He however opined that the promoter of Pacquiao has a point to proceed with the match because it is news worthy.
Cayetano did not find Bello wrong in suing Pacquiao because when the latter was sued with a similar case when he ran for Congress in Saranggani nobody supported it and Comelec allowed him to run.
“Pero halimbawa one on one, let us say si Mar Roxas at Mayor (Rodrigo) Duterte ay may boxing match sa Vegas baka umangal si Vice President Binay at Senator Merriam (But for example a race for the presidency, let us say Mar Roxas versus Rodrigo Duterte in a boxing match in Las Vegas. Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Merriam Santiago will surely protest the undue publicity the match gives),” he explained.
He prays that Comelec rule on the media mileage generated by the April 9 match even without somebody suing Pacquiao.
“Kasi si Manny Pacquiao sumusonod naman sa ruling iyan (Because Manny is a law abiding citizen)”.
FEA says each bona fide candidate or registered political party for a nationally elective office shall be entitled to not more than one hundred twenty (120) minutes of television advertisement and one hundred eighty (180) minutes of radio advertisement whether by purchase or donation.
It also mandates that any mass media columnist, commentator, announcer, reporter, on-air correspondent or personality who is a candidate for any elective public office or is a campaign volunteer for or employed or retained in any capacity by any candidate or political party shall be deemed resigned, if so required by their employer, or shall take a leave of absence from his/her work as such during the campaign period: Provided, That any media practitioner who is an official of a political party or a member of the campaign staff of a candidate or political party shall not use his/her time or space to favor any candidate or political party.
Bello said the Comelec issued Resolution No. 9615 three years ago to expand the definition of “political advertisement” to include media appearances in shows not covered by the Comelec hour.

Manny is a great boxer, and I am a fan, but now that he is also a senatorial candidate, he needs to understand that election laws must apply to everyone. There are limits to political advertising,” Bello, also a senatorial contender, cited.

A violation of campaign rules and regulations is tantamount to an election offense, which carries the penalty of one to six years imprisonment as well as disqualification from voting and holding public office.

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