Comelec cuts candidates' ad airtime

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2013 11:25 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2013 07:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has shortened the airtime that candidates can use to campaign over broadcast media once the campaign period officially begins.

In Resolution 9615, the Comelec limited to 120 minutes for TV and 180 minutes for radio the airtime that candidates for national offices can use for their commercials.

"Not more than an aggregate total of one hundred (120) minutes of television advertising, whether appearing on national, regional, or local, free or cable television, and one hundred eighty (180) minutes of radio advertising, whether airing on national, regional, or local
radio, whether by purchase or donation," the resolution said.

Candidates for local positions, meanwhile, are limited to 60 minutes for TV and 90 minutes for radio.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said this is a deviation from previous Comelec rules that imposed the airtime limits on a per station basis.

Aside from this, the Comelec also ruled that candidates sharing commercials will see deductions in both their airtime allowances, in contrast to the 2010 practice when commercials were shared by candidates to save one candidate from seeing their airtime limits charged.

The new rules also task local comelec officers and officials to monitor the rallies in their jurisidictions and to report their statement of expenses within 10 days after the rally.

The same resolution already imposed regulation on campaigning over the Internet, as well a ban on campaign posters inside public utility vehicles.

Campaigns are going to be monitored based partly on the advertising and campaign spending of candidates.

The Comelec also released Resolution 9616 that tasks the law department to be its campaign finance unit.

It ordered the unit, along  with regional election directors, provincial election supervisors, and local election officers to monitor the spending by requiring the submission of records relevant to the spending of candidates.

It deputized the Commission on Audit and Bureau of Internal Revenue to regulate campaign spending.