KBP to go to SC if Comelec insists on airtime limits

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2013 06:13 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2013 02:13 AM

MANILA - The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) will go to the Supreme Court if the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will refuse its motion for reconsideration on the issue of airtime limits for political advertisements and prior approval of guestings of political candidates.

KBP President Herman Basbano said the association of broadcasting firms will first appeal the decision through a motion for reconsideration to the Comelec before going to court if necessary.

According to Basbano, the 180-minutes limit for radio ads and 120 minutes for TV ads are not enough for candidates to create awareness and make known their stand on important national issues.

While Basbano does not refute that TV and radio stations will earn from every political ad, the public's right to know about their candidates is a more primordial concern.

On the issue of Comelec's order for media entities to obtain permission for all guestings of political candidates, Basbano said this is also questionable and can be considered prior restraint.

Lawyers of various broadcast stations also talked about the legal implications of the Comelec ruling.

Former UP College of Law Dean Pacifico Agabin, representing GMA7, said stations will first appeal with the Comelec to amend their rules but if the commission will resist, the media entities will have no choice but to go to the Supreme Court.

ABS-CBN head of legal Maxim Uy said the KBP hopes Comelec will listen to their appeal since the new ruling will not at all level the playing field.

According to Uy, it will even be detrimental to lesser-known candidates.

KBP legal counsel Atty. Rudolph Jularbal, meantime, said the penal provisions of the new Comelec ruling will also create anxiety among media practitioners who will not be able to monitor if a candidate has already breached the limit on political ads.