Comelec eyes tightening rules on airtime for political ads
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants to tighten the rules on political candidates who are exceeding the allowed airtime of their advertisements.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate committee on electoral reforms, had previously issued a statement urging the Comelec to clarify their rules regarding the time limits because some were misinterpreting the rules to their advantage.
Under the Comelec rules, national candidates are allowed 120 minutes of airtime for television and 180 minutes for radio during the campaign period.
Local candidates, meanwhile, are allowed 60 minutes for television and 90 minutes for radio.
Pimentel however said that candidates were taking the time limits to mean allowed time per station, thus giving undue advantage to rich candidates who can afford more airtime.
Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, chairperson of the ad hoc campaign finance steering committee, said Monday that he agreed with Pimentel’s statement and has already filed a draft resolution for the Comelec en banc’s consideration.
In his draft resolution, the 120 minutes and 180 minutes airtime for television and radio will be clearly defined as the total allowed airtime for a candidate during campaign period.
When asked about advertisements of candidates before the official start of the campaign, such as product commercials and the like, Lim said that Comelec has no control over those.
He however said that if any of these infomercials were still being broadcast during campaign period, they will be counted in the total time for political advertisements.
A candidate who violates the allowed time limit could face possible disqualification under the Fair Elections Act, Lim said.
Lim, along with Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, attended a seminar workshop organized by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) on the issue of campaign financing for the 2013 midterm elections.