No poll violation in hero’s welcome
By Mayen Jaymalin
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said yesterday that no law will be violated if a hero’s welcome is given to world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao when he returns to the country after his successful title defense in Dallas, Texas Saturday night.
Larrazabal also called on politicians not to oppose the red carpet welcome for Pacquiao, who is seeking a congressional seat in Sarangani in the May 10 elections.
He said politicians should let the whole nation celebrate the return of the sports icon.
“Let the country enjoy it. Let’s not mix politics with that celebration. Spare the event,” Larrazabal said.
He stressed that Pacquiao represents the Filipino nation and the boxing bout is not a political extravaganza.
Pacquiao retained his World Boxing Organization welterweight title after winning by unanimous decision against Joshua Clottey of Ghana.
“That event represents Manny as a Filipino, not for any individual or group or organization,” said Larrazabal.
Pacquiao, a known ally of President Arroyo, is endorsing the candidacy of Nationalista Party presidential bet Manny Villar.
He is expected to come home soon after the fight to begin his campaign for a congressional seat in Sarangani.
Meanwhile, Bagumbayan presidential bet Sen. Richard Gordon said Pacquiao should run for mayor of his hometown General Santos City instead of running for a seat in the House of Representatives.
“Manny knows good from evil. Congress is a wily place. It is never black or white,” he said.
Gordon said Pacquiao might not be suited for Congress where lawyers are more qualified as members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“He has to communicate there. He could serve as mayor if he wants to. He will be more suited there. He will get lost in Congress,” Gordon said.
“He will be good as a mayor because he knows good from evil,” Gordon added.
Pacquiao, a seven-time world boxing champion, will run for Congress against Roy Chiongbian as representative of Sarangani under his own People’s Champ Movement.
Pacquiao ran in 2007 as representative of South Cotabato but lost to Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio, who won a third straight term. – With Mike Frialde