No ban on publishing surveys close to election day

By Jesus F. Llanto,

Posted at Apr 23 2010 07:36 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2010 03:36 AM

SWS belies radio report

The Social Weather Stations (SWS) on Friday reminded the public that there is no ban on the publication of the results of election surveys at any time before election day.

SWS was reacting to a radio broadcast of dzRH on April 23 that tackled the results of a survey commissioned by Manila Broadcasting Co. and the radio station. The polling clarified that the provision in the Fair Elections Act, which supposedly prohibits the publication of survey results close to election day, has been voided by the Supreme Court.

"The said provision of the Fair Elections Act...has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on May 5, 2001," the SWS said.

Section 5.4 of Republic Act 9006 reads: "Surveys affecting national candidates shall not be published fifteen (15) days before the day of the election and surveys affecting local candidates shall not be published seven (7) days before the day of the election."

In April 2001, SWS and Kamahalan Publishing Corp, the publisher of Manila Standard (now Manila Standard Today), went to the high tribunal to question the provision and argued that the ban on publishing survey results constitutes a prior restraint on the exercise of freedom of speech.

The SC, in a decision penned by Justice Vicente Mendoza, permanently declared the provision unconstitutional.

SWS, along with Pulse Asia, is facing a civil suit filed by Bagumbayan presidential candidate Richard Gordon. Gordon asked the court to temporarily stop the polling firms from conducting surveys and publishing their results. (