Cayetano intervenes in SC plea vs airtime cap

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2013 11:45 AM | Updated as of Mar 15 2013 07:45 PM

MANILA - Re-electionist Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano of Team PNoy has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to declare as unconstitutional the Commission on Election's (Comelec) cap on the airtime of political advertisements on television and radio.

Cayetano filed a petition-in-intervention before the high court on Friday morning so that he may be able to take part in the petition of media entities who had first questioned the poll body's Resolution No. 9615 that ordered the airtime cap.

Cayetano said the assailed resolution is unconstitutional because it "limits the people's right to information" and "smacks of prior restraint" on the freedom of speech and expression.

"Instead of focusing on limiting advertising time, Comelec should focus on monitoring candidates' campaign spending and the source of the funds used to advertise," he said.

The assailed Comelec resolution directs all national candidates to observe an airtime cap of 120 minutes in all TV networks and 180 minutes in all radio stations. Local candidates are allotted 60 minutes in all TV networks and 90 minutes in all radio stations.

TV networks GMA7 and TV5 and radio network Bombo Radyo filed separate petitions against the Comelec airtime cap stating, among others, that the order is "too restrictive" and "vague."

Cayetano is the first candidate in the May elections to question the airtime limit before the high court.