MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday unanimously ruled that survey firms Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) may not be held liable or prosecuted for non-submission of all the names of individuals and entities that commissioned or paid for surveys, including subscribers, during the campaign period for the 2013 elections.
The high court partially granted the petition of the survey firms against Comelec Resolution No. 9674, dated April 23, 2013, which compels petitioners to disclose the names, identities or other personal information of all their respective subscribers.
SWS and Pulse Asia went to the high court to challenge the resolution, claiming that it deprived them of their liberty, right to protected information, and right to due process, as well as violated the non-impairments of contracts clause of the Constitution.
They also questioned a preliminary investigation initiated by the Comelec's Legal Department for possible election offenses under the Fair Elections Act stemming from their refusal to comply with the resolution.
Petitioners also assailed the resolution for being immediately executory after publication.
The high court had earlier issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring the implementation of the resolution "with respect to the submission of the names of regular subscribers but not to the submission of the names of specific subscribers for the limited period of Feb. 12, 2013 up to April 23, 2013 who have paid a substantial amount of money for access to survey results and privileged survey data and the names of all commissioners and payors of surveys within the same period."