Comelec weighs pros, cons of longer liquor ban

By David Dizon,

Posted at Jan 15 2013 10:05 AM | Updated as of Jan 16 2013 01:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections on Tuesday said it will weigh the pros and cons of a Metro Manila Development Authority proposal to extend the nationwide liquor ban to 45 days.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said he has asked the poll body’s legal department to check if Comelec can extend the two-day ban.

“Kasi parang pino-prohibit na natin ito. Mayroon itong legal effect sa mga businesses. We just want to know if we have that authority to regulate this with an express provision for us to do this. We have to balance the different business interests being affected,” he told ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda.”

He said that if the liquor ban is expanded, it will cover not just Metro Manila but the entire country.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said he proposed the longer liquor ban to lessen the number of drunk driving incidents and election violence before and during the May polls.

“Ang nakikita ko dito we have no national legislation against drunk driving. With Comelec's powers, we can pilot this and lessen the number of road accidents because of intoxication. Also, it can lower election violence. Everyone knows that when the campaign period for the local elections starts, bumabaha ng alak. Pinamimigay ng kandidato. Pati yung mga nagda-drive ng traysikel nakakainom yan,” he said.

Tolentino said liquor ads no benefit during the polls since there is no intelligent discussion of the election issues.

“Pag puro lasing, nagdudulot ng away yan hindi lang sa labas pero pati domestic violence,” he said.

The MMDA chief said he is also open to a shorter period for the expanded liquor ban.