Press Release
January 17, 2013

But internet ruling vague

SENATOR Chiz Escudero welcomed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling shortening the airtime that a political candidate may buy for campaign ads, saying the move would level the playing field for all candidates.

"Those who have deep resources will no longer lord over the airwaves and leave those who have meager resources way, way behind," Escudero said at the Senate's weekly Kapihan sa Senado media forum .

"At least no single candidate can put one over the other in terms of airtime. It's a fair game for everyone, it's a welcome thing," he added.

But the senator also said the Comelec's regulations on internet campaigning remains a vague issue, given the innovative concept of the internet technology.

Comelec Resolution 9615, which covers the airtime acquisition ceiling, said "online advertisement, whether procured by purchase, or given free of charge, shall not be published more than three times a week per website during the campaign period."

Chairman Sixto Brillantes said online election propaganda includes ads posted on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Escudero said internet regulations have many loopholes, and the Comelec has not yet developed the core competence to provide and define standards for its usage.

"It leaves more questions than answers. How can Comelec monitor it? For example, how do they count the minutes used by a particular candidate? What if someone uploads an ad without the candidate's knowledge or permission? Will that be counted against his airtime? What if ill-meaning protagonists will use this free uploading just to discredit a political rival? These are realities that I hope the Comelec will tread with caution and consideration," Escudero said.

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