Supreme Court Stops Implementation of New Airtime Limits on Political Ads

Supreme Court Stops Implementation of New Airtime Limits on Political Ads -- Updated around 2PM today, Philippine's Supreme Court stopped the implementation of a proposal from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), imposing new air time limits to political advertisements.

Media organizations such as  GMA Network Corp, ABC Corp. (TV5) and Kapasinan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas filed petitions against the COMELEC proposal. For one, GMA Network even referred to the proposed time limits as "too restrictive".

These are to be found in the January and February resolutions submitted by COMELEC:
  • For all national candidates, 120 minutes in all TV networks and 180 minutes in all radio stations
  • For all local candidates, 60 minutes in all TV networks and 90 minutes in all radio stations.
Said Maria Estelita Arles, one of GMA's lawyers:
We raised that the aggregate airtime for political advertisements is restrictive considering that it impinges on the right to suffrage and the right of the people to be informed on important matters and the right of the people to free speech and expression
Part of GMA Network's petition reads:
Section 9(a) of the new rules is a cruel and oppressive regulation as it imposes the unreasonable and nearly impossible burden on the broadcast mass media of monitoring a candidate's or political party's aggregate airtime minutes in real time, in order to avoid administrative and criminal liability
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano backed the points above, stating the COMELEC's order is unconstitutional.
..unconstitutional [for] limiting the people's right to information... and smacks of prior restraint.

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