Comelec amends rules on TV guestings

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2013 11:44 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2013 12:23 AM

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has formally amended the campaign rules and regulations that were the subject of appeals by media organizations.

The rules, contained in Resolution No. 9615, are set to take effect on February 12, the start of the official campaign period for national positions.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes himself posted the news on his Twitter account.

“We released Resolution No. 9631 clarifying and amending pertinent portions of Resolution No. 9615 or our rules on campaign," he said.

As Brillantes previously announced, the TV/radio airtime limits in Resolution No. 9615 (120/180 for national & 60/90 for local candidates) were “unanimously retained.”

“Regulation of ‘color motif’ as an election propaganda was also reconsidered in Resolution No. 9631.”

The provision requiring Comelec’s prior consent for the TV and radio guestings of candidates has been amended to a mere notification of the poll body.

The Comelec previously said this rule is just meant to help the Comelec monitor lopsided broadcasts.
The provision now reads as:

“6. The third (3rd) paragraph of Section 9 (a) on the “Requirements and/or Limitations on the Use of Election Propaganda through Mass Media” is revised and amended to read: “Appearance or guesting by a candidate on any bona fide newscast, bona fide news interview, bona fide news documentary, if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject or subjects covered by the news documentary, or on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events, including but not limited to events sanctioned by the Commission on Elections, political conventions, and similar activities, shall not be deemed to be broadcast election propaganda within the meaning of this provision.

For purposes of monitoring by the COMELEC and ensuring that parties and candidates were afforded equal opportunities to promote their candidacy, the media entity shall give prior notice to the COMELEC, through the appropriate Regional Election Director (RED), or in the case of the National Capital Region (NCR), the Education and Information Department (EID).

If such prior notice is not feasible or practicable, the notice shall be sent within twenty-four (24) hours from the first broadcast or publication. Nothing in the foregoing sentence shall be construed as relieving broadcasters, in connection with the presentation of newscasts, news interviews, news documentaries, and on-the-spot coverage of news events, from the obligation imposed upon them under Sections 10 and 14 of these Rules.”

It also softened the right of reply provision, making a complaint from claimant of the right of reply a requirement before a media outlet can be held liable for refusing to grant the right of reply.

 The provision now reads:

"7. Section 14 on the “Right to Reply” is revised and further clarified as follows: “SECTION 14. Right to Reply. – All registered political parties, party-list groups or coalitions and bona fide candidates shall have the right to reply to charges published or aired against them. The reply shall be given publicity by the newspaper, television, and/or radio station which first printed or aired the charges with the same prominence or in the same page or section or in the same time slot as the first statement.

Registered political parties, party-list groups or coalitions and bona fide candidates may invoke the right to reply by submitting within a non-extendible period of forty-eight (48) hours from first broadcast or publication, a formal verified claim against the media outlet to the COMELEC, through the appropriate RED. The claim shall include a detailed enumeration of the circumstances and occurrences which warrant the invocation of the right of reply and must be accompanied by supporting evidence, such as a copy of the publication or recording of the television or radio broadcast, as the case may be.

If the supporting evidence is not yet available due to circumstances beyond the power of the claimant, the latter shall supplement his claim as soon as the supporting evidence becomes available, without delay on the part of the claimant. The claimant must likewise furnish a copy of the verified claim and its attachments to the media outlet concerned prior to the filing of the claim with the COMELEC.

The COMELEC, through the RED, shall review the verified claim within forty-eight (48) hours from receipt thereof, including supporting evidence, and if circumstances warrant, give notice to the media outlet involved for appropriate action, which shall, within forty-eight (48) hours, submit its comment, answer or response to the RED, explaining the action it has taken to address the claim.

The media outlet must likewise furnish a copy of the said comment, answer or response to the claimant invoking the right to reply.Should the claimant insist that his/her right to reply was not addressed, he/she may file the appropriate petition and/or complaint before the Commission on Elections or its field offices, which shall be endorsed to the Clerk of the Commission.”