Indeed, media affected by Comelec resolution

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This comes in reference to lawyer Romulo Macalintal’s letter that was published in the Inquirer on Feb. 22, 2013. We wish to clarify some points he raised regarding the temporary restraining order (TRO) that was sought from the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of Comelec (Commission on Elections) Resolution No. 9615 or the Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 9006.

First, Macalintal said that had the high court issued a TRO, “there would have been no resolution to implement the provision of Republic Act No. 9006 on the use of print and broadcast media for political advertisements.”

We beg to differ. If a TRO is issued by the Supreme Court, the Comelec would implement Resolution No. 8758 (Rules and Regulations Implementing RA 9006, otherwise known as the Fair Election Practices Act, In relation to the May 10, 2010 Synchronized National and Local Elections, and Subsequent Elections) to regulate the use of political advertisements.  Resolution No. 8758 was promulgated for the regulation of airtime and print space for political advertisements in the May 2010 elections, but it also applies to “subsequent elections,” such as the 2013 national and local elections. So there will be no legal vacuum as opined by Macalintal.

Second, contrary to Macalintal’s view that “media entities or their organizations are not the real parties in interest to file such petitions because they do not stand to benefit or be injured by the resolution,” the network reiterates its earlier position that broadcast media—and not only the candidates and/or voters—are directly affected by Resolution No. 9615.  Broadcast stations and their officers may be held liable and subjected to penalty for any violations of the candidates with respect to the allowed airtime limits. And in order to avoid administrative or criminal liability, media entities will be constrained to undertake the unreasonable and nearly impossible task of monitoring a candidate’s and/or political party’s air time limits that would pose enormous added financial and logistical burdens to media organizations. Thus, broadcast networks are the proper parties to challenge the validity of select provisions of Comelec Resolution No. 9615.

—BUTCH S. RAQUEL

consultant to the chair and

CEO for corporate communications

GMA Network

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