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Groups slam ‘right to reply’ in Comelec rules

07:38 AM January 26, 2013

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has inserted the right to reply provision in the rules and regulations for the May 2013 election.

Under the right to reply provision, candidates who feel aggrieved by news stories can demand to have their side published in the same prominence or in the same time slot as the first statement.

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The Cebu Citizen’s Press Council (CCPC) is opposed to the provision.

According to CCPC chairman Pachico Seares, it is not the business of the Comelec to tell the candidate on what to do.

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In the past two elections, no candidate ever invoked the right to reply since they have been satisfied even without the grant to reply.

Seares suggested that the right to reply provision in the Comelec rules should not be obeyed and instead go to court to question this.

Kapisanan ng Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) national president Herman Z. Basbaño said the KBP will go to court to question the right to reply in the newly issued Comelec resolution.

Section 14 of the rules and regulation implementing Republic Act 9006, otherwise known as the “Fair Election Act”, in connection with the 13 May 2013 national and local elections and subsequent elections promulgated last Jan. 15, 2013

According to Temie Lambino, Comelec Cental Visayas director, “it’s only fair sa lahat ng mga kandidato na may karapatan silang mag right to reply sa anumang akusasyong itinuligsa sa kanila.”

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliantes said on Twitter that “the The right to reply is not Comelec’s invention. It is in the Constitution!”

Brillantes added in his Twitter account @ChairBrillantes “Under Art. IX-C Sec. 4 of the Constitution, it is COMELEC’s duty to “ensure” that candidates are afforded “the right to reply”.

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Aside from the KBP, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines would also seek the revocation of the controversial provision of the Comelec rules.with reports from Renan Alangilan

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