BOXING hero and senatorial aspirant Manny Pacquiao fired a quick counter to the Commission on Elections on Monday in defense of the Philippine broadcast of his farewell fight against Timothy Bradley on April 9 (April 10, Manila time).
Pacquiao wrote the Comelec, through his lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Antonio Carlos Bautista, arguing that the airing of his third fight against Bradley on Philippine television does not violate Republic Act No. 9006 or the Fair Elections Act that limits TV exposure of candidates during the campaign season.
Responding to the arguments of fellow senatorial candidate Walden Bello and former senator Rene Saguisag that the airing of the match gives Pacquiao unfair advantage over other candidates, the lawyers argued that the 12-round fight will run for 36 minutes at most at three minutes per round - well within the 120 minutes of TV ads and 180 minutes of radio plugs allocated each national candidate.
Bautista stressed Pacquiao's exposure for the fight can even be shorter, especially if a knockout or a stoppage occurs by the second round, which only amounts to six minutes of TV time.
"Eh kung ganun lang po ang laban eh kahit sabihin pa nating partisan political activity ang laban na yan, eh hindi po magkakaroon ng anumang violation si Congressman Pacquiao," Bautista told reporters.
Pacquiao's lawyers also point out that the fight is not considered a political act but rather a significant sports news because it is 'a big international boxing event.'
"Hindi po ito political activity," said Bautista.
Pacquiao's letter also stressed that Comelec 'does not have power or authority to issue an advisory opinion' on a hypothetical matter, as the Constitution allows the use of 'judicial or quasi-judicial power' only in cases of 'an actual controversy or a justiciable controversy which is ripe for judicial determination.'
"Simply put, there is no actual or justiciable controversy presented before this Commission because the questioned media coverage of the fight... will only happen on April 9, 2016, or more than a month from today, and given the current situation, many things may or may not happen," Pacquiao said through his lawyers.
The Comelec is set to discuss Pacquiao's case, given the statements from both sides, on Tuesday.