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Cayetano gets SC nod to intervene in networks’ plea vs airtime cap




07:34 PM March 19th, 2013

By: Tetch Torres-Tupas, March 19th, 2013 07:34 PM

Senate Alan Cayetano. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court opted not to stop the Commission on Elections from implementing its resolution that puts a cap on airtime of political advertisements.

Instead, during Tuesday’s en banc, the high court granted the petition of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano to intervene on the petition filed by television networks and radio stations assailing the Comelec’s ruling.

The high court also ordered Comelec to respond within 5 days to Cayetano’s petition.

In his petition-in-intervention, Cayetano said Comelec Resolution 9615 that reduces the advertising time of a candidate is “unconstitutional since it limits the people’s right to information.”

Cayetano also noted that the resolution “smacks of prior restraint” which is a clear affront to the freedom of speech or expression.

“Instead of focusing on limiting advertising time, Comelec should focus on monitoring candidates’ campaign spending and the source of the funds used to advertise,” he added.

GMA7, TV5 and Bombo Radyo filed separate petitions with the high court assailing the said Comelec resolution.

GMA7, in its 56-page petition said Comelec Resolution No 9615 and its amendment Resolution No. 9631 are both “too restrictive.”

TV5, on the other hand, said the new rule is “vague” because it failed to provide for a definite manner in which aggregation shall be made “thus making it difficult or impossible for media outlets to comply while subjecting them to possible criminal liability and loss of franchise permits.”

Under the rule, at the start of the campaign period, Feb. 12, all national candidates will have 120 minutes in all TV networks and 180 minutes in all radio stations. Local candidates, meanwhile, have 60 minutes in all TV networks and 90 minutes in all radio stations.

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