Casiño to Comelec: Level the playing field for candidates
MAKABAYAN senatorial bet Teddy Casiño today called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to level the playing field for candidates in terms of media exposure.
The progressive solon issued the call as Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said candidates must refrain from making their presence felt in the mass media for the sake of observing fair election practices even in the absence of a law prohibiting candidates from premature self-promotion.
The Comelec itself has the power to do this by strictly implementing the limit on campaign ads and by buying more air time which they will distribute equally among the senatorial candidates, said Casiño.
Based on Section 86 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code the Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations regarding the sale of air time for partisan political purposes during the campaign period to insure the equal time as to duration and quality in available to all candidates for the same office or political parties at the same rates or given free of charge.
Also Section 90 of the Election Code states that the Commission shall procure space in at least one newspaper of general circulation in every province or city which shall be known as “Comelec Space” wherein candidates can announce their candidacy. Said space shall be allocated, free of charge, equally and impartially by the Commission among all candidates within the area in which the newspaper is circulated.
Similarly on Section 92, the Commission shall procure radio and television time to be known as “Comelec Time” which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the candidates within the area of coverage of all radio and television stations.
These are also contained in the Fair Election Act or RA 9006. This simply means that the Comelec has all the legal means to level the playing field for candidates and it should do all it can so that political cartels would not have a very unfair advantage over those who are more deserving of public office, Casiño said.