Comelec urged: Check poll bets' spending on social media


Posted at Feb 12 2019 10:11 AM

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The Commission on Elections should monitor the expenses of candidates on online advertisements for the 2019 midterm polls instead of focusing on the content of their social media pages, a former official of the poll body said Tuesday. 

The Comelec, in a resolution last week, ordered all candidates and political parties to register their website addresses, blogs and social media pages, marking the first time that these would be covered by campaign regulations. 

It will be more difficult however to quantify how many netizens are reached by online ads compared to determining how much money was spent for these, said former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal. 

"What if 10,000 tao ishe-share ang post mo? Hindi mo ma-quantify iyun," he told radio DZMM. 

"Ang tingin ko, ang dapat gawin ng Comelec d'yan, i-monitor lang iyung expenses sa social media," he added. 

(What if 10,000 people share your post. You cannot quantify that. I think what the Comelec should do is just monitor the expenses for social media.) 

The poll body, he said, should also explain "unclear" parts of its resolution and focus more on curbing "fake news." 

The resolution was not explicit about content monitoring or regulation. 

Under Comelec's resolution, website owners or administrators are now required to submit to the Comelec certified true copies of broadcast logs, certificates of performance, affidavits of publication and other records to allow the poll body to include it in the computation of a candidate's expenditures.

Other blogs and social media pages not affiliated with a candidate or a political party but "has for its primary purpose the endorsement of a candidate" shall be considered as "additional official blogs or social media pages of a candidate," the resolution read.

Internet companies shall also provide the Comelec "validated information on advertising agencies or candidates who placed online political advertisements."

Violators of policies may be imprisoned between 1 to 6 years, and possibly face disqualification from running for public office, the poll body said.

Political parties that would not adhere to the campaign rules may also be fined P10,000, it said.
DZMM, 12 January 2019