Congress seeks stricter regulation of political ad rates

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2017 07:26 PM

MANILA — A congressional committee will consolidate 2 bills in a move that seeks to cap advertising rates on political advertisements.

The measures seek to prevent media outlets from increasing rates of political ads beyond the average cost of regular ads. A 50%discount for TV, radio and print ads of bona fide candidates was also sought.

During one committee hearing, Commission on Elections Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said the poll body did its best to monitor ad expenses.

Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia said the Fair Elections Act imposes discounts and a cap on advertising rates for political advertising but that there is no way of knowing whether the rules were being followed.

Garcia said higher ad costs could be the reason why candidates overspend. 

She asked media companies to submit quarterly rates for the first 9 months of 2015, one year before the national elections.

On Garcia's initiative, media executives were summoned to a hearing conducted by the committee.

The summons were sent to the following: (newspapers) Abante, Abante Tonite, Bandera, Bulgar, Business Mirror, Business World, Daily Tribune, Manila Bulletin, Manila Standard, Manila Times, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star; (television stations) ABS-CBN Corp., CNN Philippines, GMA Network, IBC, PTV and TV5; and (radio stations) DZBB, DZMM and DZRH.

Butch Corpin of the Lakas-CMD party said that, in the 2 weeks before the elections, it was hard to book ads for former Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who was then running for a seat in the Senate. He said ad rates at that time were higher compared to the previous month.

Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque suggested that media companies that do not comply with the proposed law be stripped of their franchise.