Senatorial candidate Walden Bello asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify Representative Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao of Sarangani because of the “free coverage” he was getting from the promotion of his upcoming fight with American Timothy Bradley, according to a radio broadcast during the filing of his petition at the Comelec on Monday, February 22.
The independent candidate was accompanied by his lawyer Milabel Cristobal to the poll body’s headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.
Pacquiao, who announced his retirement after his bout with Bradley, is in Las Vegas, Nevada training for the match on April 9.
On February 18, Bello urged the world boxing champion, who is running for the Senate, to postpone his match with Bradley as it conflicted with the campaign period.
In a live television interview on that day, Bello said that Pacquiao’s media appearances leading up to the fight gave him “massive free coverage” — something that other candidates for senator could not afford.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said that Pacquiao’s situation fell into a gray area under election laws.
Pacquiao belongs to the senatorial slate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is fielding Vice President Jejomar Binay for president.
Pacquiao also drew worldwide criticism for comparing gays and lesbians to animals but has since apologized for the comment.