Comelec airtime rule needs revision – lawmakersBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — While the Commission on Elections meant well for candidates in imposing an airtime limit, a lawmaker on Tuesday said that this would be easier said than done.
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone said that the limit on airtime for candidates in the midterm elections would be “very tedious” to implement.
Comelec Resolution No. 9615 will only allow a candidate running for a national post 120 minutes of airtime on television commercials and 180 minutes for radio plugs in all networks.
Local candidates are meanwhile allowed only 60 minutes of TV and 90 minutes of radio airtime.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said that guesting in TV and radio interviews also needed prior approval from the Comelec.
“What if the media is already calling me for an interview? Shall I tell them to wait while I go ask Comelec chairman Brillantes about it?” he asked, pointing out that the limitation would also pose problems for media agencies who need to show balanced news.
Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño agreed with the Comelec’s move to limit airtime for candidates but said that 120 minutes allowed for television and 180 minutes for radio was “really small considering the three-month campaign and the big number of TV and radio stations in the country.”
To solve this, he proposed that the Comelec purchase a considerable amount of airtime for equal distribution to all candidates.
“This is part of Comelec’s duty to provide voters with proper information on the candidates so they can vote wisely,” Casiño said.
Evardone however felt that it would be best if Comelec focused on candidates’ advertisements instead.