Comelec can order survey firms to name some clients

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 31 2013 10:13 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2013 06:13 AM

MANILA - Only regular subscribers of survey firms are protected by a Supreme Court temporary restraining order (TRO) against a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution that compels the companies to name their subscribers and reveal their personal information.

The order does not bar the poll body from compelling survey firms to name those who commissioned pre-election surveys beginning February 12 up to April 23, 2013.

It also does not cover those who paid more than the usual regular subscribers to access pre-election survey results.

The TRO was issued in response to pleas filed by petitioners Social Weather Stations, Inc. (SWS) and Pulse Asia, Inc.

"Acting on the petition with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction... the Court resolved to... issue a temporary restraining order enjoining the enforcement of Comelec Resolution No. 9674 with respect to the submission of the names of regular subscribers but not to the submission of (1) the names of specific subscribers for the limited period of Feb. 12, 2013 to April 23, 2013 who have paid a substantial amount of money for access to survey results and privileged survey data; and (2) the names of all commissioners and payors of surveys within the same period," the TRO read.

While it announced on Tuesday the issuance of the TRO, the high court released only on Wednesday copies of the said order.

The poll body was also directed to submit its comment on the petition.

SWS and Pulse Asia went to the high court to challenge the subject resolution, claiming that it deprived them of their liberty, right to protected information, and other basic rights.

They also questioned a preliminary investigation initiated by the Comelec's Legal Department for possible election-related offenses stemming from their refusal to honor the resolution.