Comelec questions timing of SC decision on poll ads’ airtime limit

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Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Tuesday questioned the timing of the decision of the Supreme Court (SC), saying it was “very unusual.”

“It is very unusual nowadays that the petition is filed early and then the [Status Quo Ante order] comes out this late,” Brillantes said in a televised phone interview.

“Why do we not resolve the merits instead of coming out with a SQA?” he said.

The SC had earlier issued the SQA on Comelec’s airtime limit rule under resolution 9615 based on several petitions of reelectionist senator Alan Peter Cayetano, GMA Network Inc., TV5, and Bombo Radyo.

The petitions were filed in the SC as early as February when the election campaign was just about to start.

“Why did it take so long? Why only now when the campaign season [is almost finished],” Brillantes told reporters in an interview. “We dont understand.”

“I’m very, very disappointed,” he said.

Brillantes further said that he might take one or two days off to rest and then he will talk with the President and ask Aquino whether he might be the problem and if he should be changed.

Previously, the SC had issued a decision against the Comelec when it tried to have the “Team Patay, Team Buhay” tarpaulins in Bacolod taken down.

SC had also remanded the cases of the disqualified partylists back to the Comelec for review with additional guidelines.

The Imus mayoralty case between Emmanuel Maliksi and Homer Saquilayan was also reversed by the SC despite initially deciding with the Comelec in favor of Saquilayan.

Resolution 9615 limits the airtime of candidates’ political advertisements to an aggregate of 120 minutes for television and 180 minutes for radio.

Local candidates are allowed an aggregate total of 60 minutes for television advertisements and 90 minutes for radio.

The airtime limit for previous elections was on a per station basis instead of aggregate total.

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