THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it would welcome a computation by any other political party or group that will show a different output of the airtime consumed by the presidential candidates.

Last week, Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and the Nacionalista Party (NP) of Senator Manny Villar have been warned by the poll body for exceeding the 120-minute airtime limit.

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But both Aquino and the NP denied that they have used up their allowable airtime in ABS-CBN.

“If they have records of that and if they have a different computation, we'd love to see it, definitely, but for now until they have not shown us that we're wrong, we will stand by the correctness of our computation," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.

The Comelec en banc decided to credit the airtime to the name appearing after the "paid for" clause in an advertisement.

“If I were a candidate and I decided to share screen time with my presidential candidate… that would not be credited against my presidential candidate. It will be credited to my time because it will be my time that appears in the 'paid for' clause,” Jimenez explained.

Comelec also emphasized that it is not only the commission that has reported that Aquino and NP have gone over the airtime limit.

Pera at Pulitika earlier released a report stating that Villar and Aquino have exceeded their limit.

Under the Fair Elections Practices Act, national candidates and political parties shall only consume 120 minutes of airtime per television station.

Aquino has spent 291.5 minutes of air time in ABS-CBN channel 2, according to the broadcast logs submitted by the station.

NP, meanwhile, has exceeded its airtime at the same local channel with 256.5 minutes. NP's candidate Villar has only spent 27.75 minutes of personal air time.

Other major television network GMA-7 has only submitted a partial list of its broadcast logs. Aquino has spent 49 minutes while NP consumed 57 minutes at GMA-7.

The broadcast logs covering the start of the campaign period last February 9 until March 12 showed Joseph Estrada consumed 57 minutes in ABS-CBN and 45.5 minutes in GMA-7; Richard Gordon with 47.5 minutes in ABS-CBN and 39.5 minutes in GMA-7; and Bro. Eddie Villanueva has six minutes of personal air time spent in GMA-7.

Illegal posters

National candidates continue to ignore the call of the poll body in connection with the tearing down of their oversized campaign posters as the three-day grace period given to them had already lapsed.

With this, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez particularly named Bangon Pilipinas standard bearer Bro. Eddie Villanueva, whose billboard along Quiapo bridge in Manila still stands.

“This morning, I’ve noticed that the billboard that we complained before in Quiapo is still up,” he said.

But Jimenez noted that it is not only Villanueva, who has not complied with their order as the illegal campaign materials of other candidates are still up along North Luzon and South Luzon Expressways.

It would be recalled that the Comelec informed the candidates, through a letter sent last week, to remove their oversized posters along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.

He warned that they are ready to tear down and to file legal action against the violators.

Jimenez said they will be coordinating with the local Comelec and other concerned agencies for the removal of the illegal campaign materials.

But the Comelec official is leaving the legal aspect of the case to their Law Department.

“It depends on the Law Department on what case will be filed against them but it looks like it will be an election offense,” he said.

The allowable size of campaign materials, under Comelec Resolution 8758, or the rules on campaigning for posters, should not exceed two feet by three feet while streamers should be not more than three feet by eight feet.

The candidates who have oversized posters are: presidential candidates Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party; Partido ng Masang Pilipino’s (PMP) Joseph Estrada; Gilbert Teodoro, Lakas-Kampi-CMD; Noynoy Aquino of the Liberal Party; Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bagong Pilipinas and Bagumbayan’s Richard Gordon.

The other national aspirants who might have violated the resolution are: vice presidential bets Jejomar Binay (PMP), Bayani Fernando (Bagumbayan) and Perfecto Yasay (Bangon Pilipinas), and senatorial bets Rey Langit and Lito Lapid of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, Vicente Sotto III and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (Nacionalista Party), Jose de Venecia and Atty. JV Larion Bautista (PMP), and two party-list groups namely: A Tambay and Bukid. (Kathrina Alvarez/FP/Sunnex)