Pacquiao disqualification doubtful, says Drilon

Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2016 10:51 AM

GENERAL SANTOS CITY - A vice-presidential candidate and a re-electionist senator gave differing views on the petition to disqualify congressman and boxing champ Manny Pacquiao from running in the May senatorial election.

Congresswoman and Liberal Party vice-presidential bet Leni Robredo said the matter of Pacquiao's disqualification is best left to the Commission on Elections.

"Actually highly contentious yan. Highly contentious in the sense na pag tiningnan natin yung strict implementation ng batas, sasabihin natin oo. Pero pagtiningnan natin sa lens na national interest sasabihin natin hindi. Pero palagay ko yang bagay na yan kailangan will be left to the Comelec kasi sila naman talaga ang may authority sa bagay na yan," she said in an interview.

For his part, LP senatorial candidate Franklin Drilon said he sees no basis for the disqualification of the People's Champ since his boxing match against Timothy Bradley is considered a public event.

"I seriously doubt kung yan ang pagbabasehan. Kasi pwedeng i-argue ni Manny yan eh. Public event eh. So I don't really see, I don't really.. I haven't reviewed it but just at the top of my head, sa tingin ko medyo mahihirapan," he said.

The Comelec earlier said it would consider a complaint accusing Pacquiao of violating election regulations by promoting his upcoming fight in the thick of the campaign.

"The complaint will be discussed during the commission en banc meeting tomorrow (Tuesday)," Comelec chairman Andres Bautista told AFP.

Bautista said Pacquiao's promotion of his April fight with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas was a "grey area", given the cap on radio and television airtime for candidates during the 90-day campaign period that started this month.

A rival senatorial candidate who has trailed Pacquiao in opinion polls, Walden Bello, filed the complaint against the boxing champion on Monday.

The most recent poll by Social Weather Stations put Pacquiao in eighth place in the race for 12 Senate seats up for grabs in May.

Bello said the poll body should determine whether Pacquiao's television appearances to promote the Bradley fight should be counted against the 120-minute television airtime limit for the campaign.

"We want to know if this violates the equal time rule because in our view, this will give overwhelmingly great hours to Pacquiao and put us at a tremendous disadvantage," Bello told AFP.

Robredo and Drilon are in General Santos City for the commemoration of the 77th founding anniversary of the city. Robredo toured the city and visited more than 1,000 supporters at barangay Fatima. With a report by Agence France-Presse