RAIN or Shine's Yeng Guiao can continue coaching in the PBA during the election campaign and not break any rule.
The assurance came from no less than Commission on Elections commissioner Rene Sarmiento, who told Spin.ph on Sunday that coaching is exempted from the rule that bars candidates from practicing their profession during the election period.
“Ang covered lang (ng Fair Elections Act) ay broadcasting, media, columnist, commentator at artista," said Sarmiento after reviewing the law. “Sa ngayon hindi kasama sa prohibition yung coaching kasi hindi naman niya kinakiusap o hinaharap directly yung public through media."
“Sa pagkaka-alaala ko, walang kasamang coach o atleta dun (sa prohibition)," the amiable elections officer said.
The three-term Pampanga vice governor is running for a congressional seat in the province’s first district, where he is pitted against former representative Francis 'Blueboy' Nepomuceno.
The campaign period starts on February 10 and Guiao has no plan to abandon Rain or Shine during that stretch, when the PBA Commissioner's Cup will be in full swing.
Sarmiento, however, said the only time Guiao will be in violation of the Fair Elections Act is if he uses his position as a coach to campaign for votes.
“Nasa presentasyon yan, kung manalo ang Rain or Shine at na-interview si coach Yeng, tapos bigla niya sinabi na, ‘Iniaalay ko ito sa mga kababayan ko sa first district’ … Ibang usapan na yun," Sarmiento warned.
Contacted for comment, Guiao said he was relieved to hear about the Comelec clarification.
“Natutuwa ako at allowed pa rin ako (mag-coach) kasi matagal na rin akong naghihintay ng sagot tungkol dyan," said Guiao.
Guiao, son of the late former Pampanga governor Bren, will be going up against a member of one of the most prominent political families in the province but reportedly has the support of incumbent governor Lilia Pineda, Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan, and business mogul Manny V. Pangilinan.