MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – One of the most powerful agencies of the Philippine government says it is “powerless.”
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has decided that it cannot enforce its own rules that assure equal media coverage for all candidates running for elective office.
COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista announced the decision on a query posed by former Akbayan party-list representative Walden Bello and former senator Rene Saguisag on whether the televised April 9 boxing match between senatorial candidate Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, Jr. in Las Vegas would violate election laws. The duo complained that the international and local media coverage of the fight would give Pacquiao undue advantage over other senatorial candidates.
The Pacquiao-Bradley match will happen exactly a month before the 2016 Philippine elections.
Bautista said that it is not within its power to stop the telecast. He also added that the poll body cannot act on the issue because no one has filed a formal complaint, saying it cannot act on “hypotheticals.”
This COMELEC decision is yet another proof that under the Aquino administration, government appointees are paid to do nothing, not even their mandated tasks as stated in their job descriptions.
Many will recall that during the height of the laglag bala scam, in which unsuspecting airline passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were held and questioned for planted bullets in their luggage. Manila International Airports Authority Chief Jose Angel Honrado told Senator Bongbong Marcos during a Senate hearing that it was not within his jurisdiction to remedy the matter, saying his job was merely “coordination.”
Political observers suspect that the Aquino administration and the COMELEC are scared that if they stopped the live broadcast of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight, they will face the ire of Filipino boxing fans.