Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Poll candidates warned vs politicizing Pacquiao victory

03/15/2010 | 07:46 PM

Original Story:

(Updated 11:55 p.m.) Election officials on Monday warned candidates in the May 10 polls against using Manny Pacquiao’s expected victory motorcade to campaign.

Candidates were particularly advised not to put their campaign materials on the vehicles that would be used in the motorcade as these vehicles are not considered common poster areas by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“It’s not your rally and it’s not a common poster area," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told reporters in an interview as a message to the candidates.

Comelec Resolution 8758 requires candidates to post their advertisements on common poster areas like plazas, markets, and barangay centers.

Candidates who will violate this may be punished with one to six years imprisonment, disenfranchisement, and disqualification from holding public office.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said candidates are not prohibited form joining the motorcade as long as they would not use it to promote their candidacy.

“Spare the event from politics... it’s a sporting event, it’s not an event that's owned by a political party," Larrazabal told reporters in an interview.

In the past, motorcades were held for Pacquiao upon his arrival from a successful boxing match abroad. Last March 14 (Manila time), the 31-year-old Filipino boxing icon defeated Ghana’s Joshua Clottey via unanimous decision in their much awaited bout in Texas, USA.

Pacquiao is expected to arrive in Manila on March 22, or four days before the start of the campaign period for local posts. He is running for congressman representing the lone district of Sarangani province under the Nacionalista Party (NP) banner.

Pacquiao is endorsing the candidacy of NP standard bearer Sen. Manny Villar Jr. and has vowed to personally campaign for him once he arrives in Manila.

In Malacanang, deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said they are studying what other citation could still be given to Pacquiao, who has already received the Order of Sikatuna and rank of Datu, among others.

“In his last award (Order of Sikatuna, rank of Datu), they had a difficult time looking for an award for him considering his numerous wins. This will be studied very well. Nauubos na ni Manny ang ating mga baon na award sa kanya, but we will give it a try. As always we want to recognize the achievements of a Filipino like him," he said.

Olivar said Pacquiao, in defeating Clottey and defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight title, showed that Filipino talent is world class. He thanked Pacquiao for uniting the country once again.

He expressed hope that Filipinos will show the same unity when they elect the country’s next leaders in the May 10 elections. - KBK, GMANews.TV

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