MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should strictly enforce political advertisement rules to ensure that rich politicians can’t have an unfair advantage over the others, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said Wednesday.
In a statement, he said that the rules on political ads were being misinterpreted by candidates to give them more media exposure.
“Of course, those who have more money can afford to have more advertisements and exposure on television and radios, while candidates who have less money cannot afford the high prices of advertisements,” Pimentel said.
Under the Fair Election Practices Act or Republic Act 9006, national candidates are limited to 120 minutes of television airtime and 180 minutes for radio advertisements while local candidates are limited to 60 minutes for television and 90 minutes for radio, he said.
Pimentel clarified that the provisions should mean “total media time” of all advertisements in all media outlets but the candidates interpret it as total time allowed for each media outlet.
Rich candidates are taking advantage of their interpretation of the rules to get more than the allowed media time for advertisements, Pimentel said.
Comelec should issue a resolution that would properly interpret the provisions of the law in order to create a level playing field for all candidates regardless of financial capability, he said.