Comelec airtime limit rule on poll ads stoppedBy Tetch Torres-Tupas
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court on Tuesday stopped the Commission on Elections from implementing its resolution that imposed a cap on airtime of campaign advertisements.
Voting 9-6, the high court issued the status quo ante against the Comelec resolution on airtime limits on political advertisements.
The Justices who voted for the status quo ante were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Martin Villarama, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza and Marvic Leonen.
The justices who voted against the SQA were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Mariano Del Castillo, Roberto Abad, Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.
An SQA is issued to preserve the last actual peaceable and uncontested status before the litigation or filing of a petition which means, on this case, as if there is no Comelec resolution to implement yet.
Petitioners are questioning the legality of the Comelec resolution.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said Comelec Resolution 9615 that put a limit on 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.
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.