SC TRO on poll ads bad for media: lawyer

Posted at 02/13/2013 8:34 PM

MANILA - Media companies will be at the losing end if the Supreme Court issues a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Comelec's limit on political advertisements in the 2013 elections, a lawyer said Wednesday.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, in a press statement, said a TRO on Comelec Resolution No. 9615 would result in the complete barring of all election ads.

"There will be no resolution that would implement the provision of Republic Act 9006 on the use of print and broadcast media for political advertisements," he said.

"The said law provides that it could only be implemented by means of a resolution issued by the Comelec. Hence, without a Comelec resolution or if the SC stops its implementation then the candidates and the political parties cannot not yet avail of the use of broadcast and print media for their political propaganda under RA 9006 until such time that the SC would lift the TRO," he explained.

"This is so because there would be no resolution implementing RA 9006 on how broadcast or print political advertisements would be regulated by the Comelec."

Macalintal said media companies "are not the real parties in interest" to file petitions against the Comelec limit on poll ads.

"They do not stand to benefit or be injured by the aforesaid resolution of the Comelec. They cannot represent the interest of the entire electorate on their allegation that the said resolution is so 'restrictive that suppresses the right of the people to know their candidates,' more so that their petitions are not in the nature of a class suit on behalf of all voters," he said.

He added that only the candidates or voters themselves are the real parties of interest in the case.

"For the voters, they could argue that the resolution prevent them from getting more access to the qualifications of the candidates. And for the candidates, they could claim that the intention of the law is to give them a wider avenue to introduce themselves to the voters," Macalintal said.

He also defended the Comelec rules on time and space limits for political advertisements, which were only taken from Section 6 of RA 9006.

"Hence, unless the said law is amended, Comelec has no authority to prescribe what the law does not provide," Macalintal said.