SC to Comelec: Enforce campaign airtime limits

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Time limits on political advertisements on radio and television remain in force despite the temporary restraining order (TRO) imposed on the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The Supreme Court (SC) issued a resolution yesterday for the Comelec to revert to the time limits imposed on candidates during the May 2010 elections.

“Consequently, the 120 minutes/180 minutes airtime limit, per station, for candidates or registered political parties for a National Elective Position and the 60 minutes/ 90 minutes airtime limit, per station for a Local Elective Position, implemented in the 2010 elections shall be implemented instead in the 2013 elections pending resolution of the consolidated cases by the Court,” read the SC order.

The SC said a TRO was issued, not a status quo ante order as spokesman Theodore Te announced in Baguio City last Tuesday.

“By a vote of 9-6 and after deliberation on the issues and the different opinions submitted pertinent to the consolidated petitions, the Court has decided to issue a temporary restraining order in view of the urgency involved and to prevent irreparable injury that may be caused to the petitioners if respondent Commission on Elections is not enjoined from implementing its so-called ‘aggregate time’ contained in its Resolution No. 9615,” the SC said.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said candidates taking advantage of the TRO are treading on dangerous ground.

“It is at their own risk,” he said.

“It is also at the own risk of the networks. If the petitions (against airtime) will be sustained, there’s no problem. The issuance of TRO is right. But what if we are right and I believe we are right?”

Brillantes said they will not compute the campaign advertisements of candidates while the TRO is in effect, but when the SC rules in favor of the Comelec, the candidates may find themselves exceeding the ceiling for propaganda aired on television and radio stations.

“I want to study the effect of this TRO,” he said. 

“For me there is an adverse effect in issuing a temporary issuance or temporary order... During the TRO period, there’s no issue. We cannot go after them. But as soon as the TRO is lifted and, let’s say we won, we will start computing, everything becomes confused because of the TRO.”

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said the SC could rule in favor of the Comelec on the airtime limit on political advertisements.

“Let me issue a warning to all the candidates, even though the Supreme Court has issued a status quo ante order, that is not the final decision in the case,” he said.

“If the final decision is that the Comelec is right, those who exceed the 120 minutes could be disqualified.”

Candidates must proceed with caution because nobody knows what will happen, he added.

Pimentel said he agrees with the Comelec decision to set a 120-minute limit on political ads to level the playing field for the moneyed candidates and those with limited resources.

“So now the advantage goes to the billionaires and the millionaires,” he said.

Sen. Franklin Drilon said the Comelec decision applies to candidates, not the television and radio networks.

“What Koko is saying is correct, if in the merits, the Supreme Court sustains the original limitation as promulgated by the Comelec, then those who took advantage of the status quo ante order could be still held liable at the point when the Supreme Court affirms the order of the Comelec,” he said. – Edu Punay, Sheila Crisostomo, Marvin Sy

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with