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SC ruling on political ad airtime limit dismays Comelec

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - September 4, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expressed disappointment over a decision of the Supreme Court (SC) declaring as unconstitutional the airtime limit set by the poll body on political advertisements of candidates.

“I feel bad about it because that limitation is intended to equalize the playing field. This will benefit the moneyed candidates and I don’t think it’s good. This is regrettable,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday made permanent the injunction order on Comelec Resolution 9615, setting the airtime limits of campaign advertisements in counting the aggregate total, not on per television and radio station basis.

Brillantes said they are bound to follow the SC decision and would look for provisions in the resolution they could still implement in the 2016 elections.

He cited the right to reply, which upholds a person’s right to defend himself in the same way the public criticism was published or aired.

“We won’t be filing an MR (motion for reconsideration). We’ll just see what we can implement in 2016. Anyway, we still have control over campaign expenses so we will go after them on that aspect,” Brillantes said.

Section 14 of the resolution states “all parties and bona fide candidates shall have the right to reply to charges against them.”

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday hinted she is not interested in taking the top post in the Comelec to be vacated by Brillantes, who retires in February next year.

De Lima said it was Brillantes who kept on pushing for her appointment in the Comelec.

“That is the wish of Chairman Brillantes. I heard him many times saying that. I am pleased, but it’s not my wish,” she said.

De Lima said she would like to focus on her job at the justice department.

“I really don’t know what will be my calling after the DOJ,” De Lima said.    

Brilliantes is set to retire on Feb. 2, 2015, more than a year before the May 2016 national and local elections.

Last May, 1-BAP party-list and former justice secretary Silvestre Bello III said De Lima is the most likely appointee to replace Brillantes. – With Edu Punay

BRILLANTES CHAIRMAN BRILLANTES COMELEC COMELEC CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES JR. COMELEC RESOLUTION DE LIMA JUSTICE SECRETARY LEILA LAST MAY SILVESTRE BELLO SUPREME COURT
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