Comelec told to be strict on candidates’ airtime cap-A A +A
Monday, February 11, 2013
SENATOR Francis Escudero, a survey frontrunner for the 2013 midterm polls, asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday to walk the talk on its campaign to shorten the media mileage of candidates.
The poll body earlier issued Resolution 9615 to "level the playing field" among political candidates by limiting the total airtime a national candidate may buy for campaign ads to 120 minutes for television and 180 minutes for radio.
Local candidates, on the other hand, should not exceed 90 minutes for television and 60 minutes for radio.
The resolution also limits the size of print ads to one-fourth page for broadsheets and one-half page for tabloids. Portions of the resolution including the airtime cap have already been asked by media outfits GMA 7 and TV5 to be nullified by the Supreme Court for allegedly violating constitutional rights such as freedom of expression.
"Levelling the playing field means no one gets undue advantage over the others just because he or she has more money to spend for advertising. But the rule will only work if the Comelec makes sure that it is enforced strictly, equally, and consistently," Escudero said.
He also asked the Comelec to pay attention to online advertising because the medium remains a "gray area" of campaign regulations.
"We cannot ignore the size and reach of the cyber universe, and it continues to grow every day. With its reach, the Internet must be closely monitored as well," said Escudero, who earlier confirmed that his campaign will focus on social media to save expenses on sorties.
The Comelec spells out the size of ads a candidate may put out online and the frequency and duration of publication for the ad. Website owners or administrators are also required to submit certified true copies of broadcast or publication logs.
Escudero is one of the three common bets of the Liberal Party-led coalition and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which will officially begin their campaign on Tuesday in Manila and Cebu, respectively. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)