Comelec sets public hearing on air-time limits
MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has set for public hearing on January 31 the letter-appeals of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas and GMA Network Inc., over the campaign rules and regulations imposed by the poll body for the official 2013 campaign period.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said this was the consensus of his colleagues after even he himself found difficulty defending questions about the restrictions on color motif, which is a provision in the rules.
"Araw araw nahihirapan na ako lalo na color coding. In fact, even now we're discussing a clarification ako mismo maraming tanong sa committee na nagdraft," he said.
Brillantes declined to name who drafted the rules.
Commissioner Christian Robert Lim is the head of the campaign finance watch efforts of the Comelec, which is the one in charge of regulating political advertisements.
The Comelec chairman said he is not against the media, saying that the rules are directed at the candidates.
He said the Comelec will not prioritize the media's business interests over public interests.
Brillantes, meantime, defended the right to reply provision in the rules, saying this has constitutional basis.
Section 4, Article 9C of the 1987 Constitution says, “The Commission may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information, all grants, special privileges, or concessions granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal opportunity, time, and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections."
Brillantes admitted though that the rule needs to be further clarified.