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KAPISANAN NG MGA BRODKASTER NG PILIPINAS

January 23, 2013

HON. SIXTO S. BRILLANTES


Chairman
Commission on Elections
Intramuros, Manila
Philippines

IN RE: COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 9615, RULES AND REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING


REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9006, OTHERWISE KNON AS THE “FAIR ELECTION ACT”, IN
CONNECTION TO THE 13 MAY 2013 NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS, AND
SUBSEQUENT ELECTIONS.

Dear Hon. Chairman:

We write to seek reconsideration by the Honorable Commission on Election (COMELEC)


of its Resolution No. 9615, promulgated last 15 January 2013, and entitled: Rules and
Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 9006, otherwise known as the “Fair Election Act”, in
Connection to the 13 May 2013 National and Local Elections (hereafter Resolution or
Resolution 9915).

The Honorable Commission did not call or convene a Public Hearing with and among
stakeholders, including the KBP and/or its members during the formulation/deliberations of the
subject Resolution 9615. Consequently, Movants pray that the Honorable Commission call for a
Public Hearing on the matter with invitation to all stakeholders also pursuant to its rule making
powers.

I. THE MOVANTS

Movant Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) is the national organization of


Broadcasting Companies in the Philippines. The KBP represents the majority of broadcast
franchise grantees.

Other Movant broadcast networks are parties in interest being broadcasting companies
that own and operate television and radio stations and who, therefore, stand to be liable for
violation of the subject COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, pursuant to Section 264 of the Omnibus
Election Code (Batasan Pambansa 881).
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II. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

If there is a political activity that epitomizes the essence of a democratic society, it is the
election process. It is because of this that a wide latitude should be given to the exercise of the
Constitutional rights of the freedom of expression, speech, freedom of the press, and the right
of the people to information that will allow them to make an informed choice. Consequently,
stringent restrictions and curtailment of rights and freedoms should be the exception rather
than the rule.

Even the interpretation of laws, rules and regulations should lean towards liberality that
favors the respect and observance of the peoples and candidates’ constitutional rights and
freedoms. That there are responsibilities is undeniable and should likewise be imposed
provided that the laws, rules and regulations imposing responsibilities are reasonable and do
not curtail constitutional rights and freedoms. The curtailment of constitutional rights have so
far, been only justified for reasons of a clear and present danger to national security, public
order and public safety and such curtailment have been narrowly interpreted.

While respecting and recognizing the power and authority of the Honorable Commission
on Elections to ensure a free, honest and clean election process, it is submitted that the
exercise by the Commission of its powers should be in consonance, and consistent with, the
observation of constitutional rights and freedoms precisely because an election is the ultimate
expression of freedom and democracy.

History shows that there is always a tendency of those in power or authority, even in a
democratic society, to use authority to push and pursue their advocacy by curtailing
constitutional freedoms, almost always of which are the freedoms of expression, speech and of
the press. History will also bear witness that it is through a vigilant and vibrant press/media
that abuse of power and the curtailment of rights are put into check. It is in this perspective
that the KBP is submitting this prayer for reconsideration by the Honorable Commission of its
Resolution 9615 lest the Honorable Commission overlooked constitutional and legal rights, as
well as practical realities, in its honest and legitimate desire for a free, honest and clean
election, the advocacy of which KBP is an ally.

It is further humbly submitted that among the objectives of adopting Rules and
Regulations in connection with the implementation of laws is to put in practical and detailed
terms the enforcement of the purposes/objectives of the law. A law’s Implementing Rules and
Regulations must create order, not chaos. It must clarify not obscure. It must facilitate rather
than complicate implementation. Implementing Rules and Regulations must, therefore, be
interpreted in the context of the laws’ practical implementation, among others.
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It is for constitutional/legal and practical considerations that, in addition to our Position


Paper filed before this Honorable Commission last January 10, 2013 which we reiterate, this
motion for reconsideration is submitted pursuant to the rule making authority of the Honorable
Commission and not pursuant to the Commission’s quasi-judicial function.

III. STATEMENT OF ISSUES

A. Constitutional and Legal Issues

a. The subject Resolution 9616 is unconstitutional as it imposes prior


restraint/censorship on the exercise of the freedom of expression and of the
press
b. The Resolution expands or amends the law and creates criminal liability of
Movants and the potential loss of their Congressional Franchise for acts of third
parties
c. Candidates are held liable for actions they have not authorized or have no
control over
d. The requirement of publishing surveys expands the coverage of the Resolution
as the same is not required by RA 9006

B. Technical and Practical Issues

a. Technical considerations of broadcast deprive the candidates of their right to


access a broad mass of voters through mass media if the Resolution were
implemented
b. The fragmented nature of broadcast stations’ viewer/listener markets have been
disregarded practically depriving candidates of their ability to reach various
audiences
c. The implications of some regulations affecting the broadcast and cable industries
have not been considered
d. Technology developments and innovations, such as convergence, have
practically been disregarded in the apparent desire to curb media exposure of
candidates.

IV. DISCUSSIONS ON CONSTITUTIONAL & LEGAL ISSUES

A. Constitutional Issues: The Resolution is unconstitutional as it imposes prior


restraint/censorship on the bona fide exercise of the freedom of expression and the
press.

Section 9 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 provides:


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“Appearance or guesting by a candidate on any bona fide newscast, bona


fide news interview, bona fide news documentary, if the appearance of the
candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject or subjects covered by
the news documentary, or on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events,
including but not limited to events sanctioned by the Commission on Elections,
political conventions, and similar activities, shall not be deemed to be broadcast
election propaganda within the meaning of this provision. To determine whether
the appearance or guesting in a program is bona fide, the broadcast stations or
entities must show that: (1) prior approval of the Commission was secured; and
(2) candidates and parties were afforded equal opportunities to promote their
candidacy. Nothing in the foregoing sentence shall be construed as relieving
broadcasters, in connection with the presentation of newscasts, news
interviews, news documentaries, and on-the-spot coverage of news events, from
the obligation imposed upon them under Sections 10 and 14 of these Rules.”

Xxxxx xxxxx xxxx

The above cited provision requires that prior approval of the Commission is secured for
a guesting, news interview, documentary, newscast, or appearance involving a political
candidate in order that the guesting, interview etc. can be treated as “bona fide” news.

Strangely, while the provision is premised on the “bona fide” exercise of press freedom,
the provision goes on to create a presumption against the “bona fide” nature of news. There is
created a burden of proving the bona fide exercise of press freedom before it is even
exercised! The presumption in favor of the exercise of a primary Constitutional freedom should
be the rule not the exception. The exercise of the freedom of expression and of the press in a
democratic society should be encouraged, not curtailed, if we want democracy to flourish. This
is especially so in the context of an essential democratic exercise: during the election by the
people of their representatives!

This requirement for prior approval of COMELEC has a chilling effect and clearly constitutes
prior restraint/censorship on the exercise of press freedom.

In recent pronouncements by Honorable members of the Commission, we are informed


that the requirement has been changed to “notice” instead of “prior approval”. With due
respect, notwithstanding the lesser requirement, it is still a mandatory requirement, the non-
compliance of which subjects media outlets to criminal and other sanctions. We submit that
the requirement still creates a chilling effect on the exercise of press freedom and constitutes
prior restraint on the press which rights are being curtailed even if there is no clear and present
danger to national security, public order or public safety.

The Resolution further provides:

Section 1, Definitions. – as used in this Resolution:


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Xxxx xxxx xxxx

(4) The term "political advertisement" or "election propaganda" refers to


any matter broadcasted, published, printed, displayed or exhibited, in any
medium, which contain the name, image, logo, brand, insignia, color motif,
initials, and other symbol or graphic representation that is capable of being
associated with a candidate or party, and is intended to draw the attention of
the public or a segment thereof to promote or oppose, directly or indirectly, the
election of the said candidate or candidates to a public office. In broadcast
media, political advertisements may take the form of spots, appearances on TV
shows and radio programs, live or taped announcements, teasers, and forms of
advertising messages or announcements used by commercial advertisers.

Political advertising includes matters, not falling within the scope of


personal opinion, that appear on any Internet website, including, but not limited
to, social networks, blogging sites, and micro-blogging sites, in return for
consideration, or otherwise capable of pecuniary estimation.

Xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxx

Again in recent pronouncements by Honorable Members of the Commission, the above


provision, in relation of election propaganda, is being interpreted to extend to matters like the
color of attires of broadcast personalities or guests appearing in broadcast media. This means
that if a broadcast personality (TV) or guest is attired in a color identified with the color motif of
a Party or candidate, such appearance on television attired in the color identified with a Party
or Candidate will constitute campaign propaganda!

One’s manner or choice of color of dress/clothing is a form of an exercise of the


freedom of expression. Such right should not be curtailed because of a “perceived” or
“anticipated” intention. Even by a stretch, and assuming even that there is ground, by reason
of national security, public safety and public order to justify a curtailment, such curtailment
should be on the basis of “clear and present danger” not by a “dangerous tendency”.

With due respect, we submit that the rule adopted by the Honorable Commission is
unconstitutional for being in violation of the freedom of expression the curtailment of which is
not by reason of a clear and present danger to national security, public order or public safety.

The Resolution also provides:

SECTION 14. Right to Reply. - All parties and bona fide candidates shall
have the right to reply to charges published or aired against them. The reply shall
be given publicity by the newspaper, television, and/or radio station which first
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printed or aired the charges with the same prominence or in the same page or
section, or in the same time slot as the first statement.

Candidates may invoke the right to reply by submitting a formal, verified, claim
against the media outlet to the COMELEC, through the appropriate Regional
Election Director, or in the case of the NCR, the EID. The claim shall include a
detailed enumeration of the circumstances and occurrences which warrant the
invocation of the right to reply.

The COMELEC shall, within 24 hours of receipt of the claim, endorse the same to
the media outlet involved, which shall, within 24 hours, submit a report to the
COMELEC, through the appropriate Regional Election Director, or in the case of
the NCR, the EID, on the action it has taken to address the claim.

The KBP has always taken the position, and herein likewise submits, that the provision on
the Right to Reply is unconstitutional as it impinges on the editorial prerogative of media. What
is ethically required of media is a balanced and fair reporting.

B. Legal Issue: The Resolution expands or amends the law and creates criminal liability of
Movants and the potential loss of their Congressional Franchise for acts of third
parties

The Penal provisions in COMELEC Resolution 9615 for Broadcast Networks or stations that
violate the provisions of the Fair Election Act and/or its Implementing Rules and Regulations are
as follows:

Section 7 (g) paragraph 6 of the COMELEC Resolution 9615 provides:

The printing press, printer, or publisher who prints, reproduces or


publishes said campaign materials, and the broadcaster, station manager,
owner of the radio or television station, or owner or administrator of any
website who airs or shows the political advertisements, without the required
data or in violation of these rules shall be criminally liable with the candidate
and, if applicable, further suffer the penalties of suspension or revocation of
franchise or permit in accordance with law.

Further, Section 35 also provides:

Section 35. Election Offense. - Any violation of RA 9006 and these Rules
shall constitute an election offense punishable under the first and second
paragraph of Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code in addition to
administrative liability, whenever applicable. Any aggrieved party may file a
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verified complaint for violation of these Rules with the Law Department of the
Commission.

Discussion on the impact of providing for an aggregated time for political advertisement on
television and radio in connection with the above penal provisions:

The Resolution provides that Candidates/Registered Political Parties for National


Elective Positions may use for their broadcast advertisement or election propaganda not more
than an AGGREGATE of not more than 120 minutes of television advertising, whether appearing
on national, regional or local free or cable television, and 180 minutes of radio advertising,
whether airing on national, regional, or local radio, whether by purchase or donation. (for
Candidates/Registered Political parties for Local Elective Positions the limits are 60 minutes of
television and 90 minutes for radio advertising).

With the implementation of Resolution 9615 in connection with RA 9006, a broadcast


network or station that airs political advertisements or election propaganda in excess of said
limits will be criminally liable and their Congressional Franchise is subject to suspension or
cancellation. The Resolution, however, does not provide the system, method or means by
which the management of a television or radio station would know, on real time, whether or
not the airing of the election propaganda is already beyond the allowable minutes. It does not
even provide for the method of which aired campaign material will be counted first. Would it
be the date of contracting for the same, or the actual airing of the material? The airing of
EVERY election propaganda material therefore subjects the station to potential liability even for
acts of third parties (the candidate, the party or supporters). Only the candidate or party
presumably knows whether the airtime limits are being breached. In fact, and as will be
demonstrated later, they may not even know!

While it may be argued (and in fact has been announced) that broadcast stations would
not be held liable for airing political advertisements in excess of the allowable limits, such
exemption from liability has no basis in the law and is not found in the subject Resolution.
The exemption cannot definitely be created by mere pronouncements because the law is
clear on the matter.

This situation is in fact one of the rationale for the limits being imposed on a per
station basis. In this case, the station would DEFINITELY know whether it is airing campaign
propaganda in excess of the allowable limits.

C. LEGAL ISSUE: Candidates are held liable for actions they have not authorized and/or
have no control over

The concerns raised in the previous discussions are further magnified or highlighted
when we consider a provision that was not found in previous Resolutions (for previous
elections) and is newly introduced in the subject Resolution, to wit:
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Section 9. Requirements and/or Limitations on the Use of Election


Propaganda through Mass Media. – All parties and bona fide candidates shall
have equal access to media time and space for their election propaganda during
the campaign period subject to the following requirements and/or limitations:

Xxxx xxxx xxxx

In cases where two or more candidates or parties whose names, initials,


images, brands, logos, insignias, color motifs, symbols, or forms of graphical
representations are displayed, exhibited, used or mentioned together in the
same broadcast election propaganda or advertisements, the length of time
during which they appear are being mentioned or promoted will be counted
against the airtime limits allotted for the said candidates or parties and the cost
of said advertisements will likewise be considered as their expenditure,
regardless of whoever paid for the advertisements or to whom the said
advertisements were donated.

Xxxx xxxx xxxx

The serious implications of this provision can be illustrated when we take it in relation to
the definition of “political advertisement” or “election propaganda”, to wit:

Section 1, Definitions. – as used in this Resolution:

Xxxx xxxx xxxx

(4) The term "political advertisement" or "election propaganda" refers to any


matter broadcasted, published, printed, displayed or exhibited, in any medium, which
contain the name, image, logo, brand, insignia, color motif, initials, and other symbol or
graphic representation that is capable of being associated with a candidate or party, and
is intended to draw the attention of the public or a segment thereof to promote or
oppose, directly or indirectly, the election of the said candidate or candidates to a public
office. In broadcast media, political advertisements may take the form of spots,
appearances on TV shows and radio programs, live or taped announcements, teasers,
and forms of advertising messages or announcements used by commercial advertisers.

Political advertising includes matters, not falling within the scope of personal
opinion, that appear on any Internet website, including, but not limited to, social
networks, blogging sites, and micro-blogging sites, in return for consideration, or
otherwise capable of pecuniary estimation.
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Xxxx xxxx xxxx

We submit the following examples to illustrate the impracticality of the subject


provisions of the Resolution that, we humbly recommend, should be addressed if some sense is
to be made of the Resolution:

1. Where a political advertisement or a candidate features the logo and/or color (e.g. as a
backdrop) of the Party to which he belongs, will the political advertisement be counted
against the allowable airtime and expenditure of the Party?

We submit that an interpretation of the above provisions will result to an affirmative


answer: The airtime and cost will be counted against the Party thus depriving the Party
of its airtime and its right to promote itself and its platforms because of the action of its
own candidates. Further, if the Party contracts for airtime, it is in potential violation of
RA 9006 and the Resolution because it may not have knowledge of a placement of its
candidate that displays the Party’s Logo or colors (which is expected because a
candidate wants to be identified with his party). This is in addition to the implications of
the crediting of costs against it!

2. Conversely, where the political advertisement of the Party features the pictures of its
candidates, will the airtime be counted against each of the candidates?

Again we submit that by the same logic of interpretation, the answer will be in the
affirmative. Thus a candidate will be prejudiced by the media placement of the
candidates’ own party!

3. Where a candidate’s political advertisement features the picture or image of his


opponent(s) and the candidate campaigns “opposing” the candidacy of his opponent(s),
or even not campaign against, but simply features his opponent’s picture with a label
“my opponent” underneath, will the airtime and cost be credited against his
opponent(s)?

We submit that the interpretation of the Resolution results to no other response than to
answer the question is in the affirmative. The “opponent’s” airtime and allowable
expense will be credited even for an advertisement that is intended to discredit him!

While arguments have been forwarded that such will not be the interpretation given,
that is what the Resolution plainly provides. This matter of proper interpretation could
become complicated if we consider that an election related complaint is adversarial. If
such was not the intention of the Commission in the formulation of the Rules, then the
rules should plainly say so. Otherwise, “dura lex sed lex”
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4. What is the mechanism or procedure for crediting the airtime and expense against a
candidate who was featured in a political advertisement whether for or against him?

In all of the above scenarios, a candidate is made responsible or liable for the actions of
another candidate or a third party even if he has not consented to the same. Why
should this be so? How will the affected candidate/party report the election
expenditure? What is the mechanism for accounting on the side of the Commission or
even on the side of an affected candidate? Unfortunately the Resolution does not
provide the answers thus creating more ambiguity than clarity. The Resolution is
creating more chaos than order.

More of a legal infirmity is that the questioned new provision expands or extends the
coverage of the law as these situation(s) are not contemplated nor provided for in the
Fair Election Act. The Honorable Commission in introducing the new provision has, we
humbly submit, gone beyond the scope of its rule making authority.

D. LEGAL ISSUE: The requirement of publishing surveys expands the coverage of the
Resolution as the same is not required by RA 9006

The Resolution provides:

SECTION 26. Election Surveys. - During the election period, any person,
whether natural or juridical, candidate or organization may conduct an election
survey. The survey shall be published and shall include the following
information:

Xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Various organizations or parties conduct surveys for internal guidance and information. Even
political parties and candidates do so. In these instances, the results are intended to be
confidential/internal. Section 26 of the Resolution require even these surveys to be published.

We submit that providing for the requirement of publication is ultra vires in relation to the Fair
Election Act, RA 9006, that does not have such requirement

V. DISCUSSIONS ON TECHNICAL & PRACTICAL ISSUES/CONSIDERATIONS

A. Technical considerations of broadcast deprive the candidates of their right to access a


broad mass of voters through mass media if the Resolution were implemented
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We reiterate that television and radio stations operate within a defined geographical
area not only physically but also in so far as their signals are propagated. This is a
condition that is imposed by the National Telecommunications Commission based on
the laws of physics.

Thus, national candidates will be deprived of effectively reaching a greater mass of the
voting population because of the airtime limits as currently provided in the Resolution.
The placement of advertisements in one station effectively limits the ability to place in
another station even while the population in the second area is different from the
population in the first area.

Election of officials is one of the significant ways of exercising political rights. However,
such exercise of political rights is significant only if it is done with discernment and by a
voting population that is informed.

Allowing candidates the opportunity to present their platforms should, therefore, be


given sufficient latitude with reasonable and practicable rules.

B. The fragmented nature of broadcast stations’ viewer/listener markets have been


disregarded practically depriving candidates of their ability to reach various audiences

Aside from the matter of geographical reach (signal propagation) there is the matter of
the fragmented nature of audiences. Even within the same area, each television/radio
station have their own unique viewers/listeners. One excludes the other, meaning that
at a given time, the viewer/listener of television/radio station “A” is necessarily not the
viewer/listener of station “B”.

We should also consider that the Philippines is an archipelago with hundreds of dialects.
Thus, there is the need to reach an audience in a dialect/language best understood by
them for the message to effectively reach them. Local stations are the most effective
and efficient means to achieve this objective. /the limits on allowable airtime curtails
this ability.

Again, the Resolution deprives a set of viewers/listeners their right to be informed of


each candidates’ platform etc.

C. The implications of some regulations affecting the broadcast and cable industries have
not been considered.

It is observed that for purposes of the Resolution, cable television is considered akin to a
television station. Thus, under the Resolution, placements of political advertisements in
free television, if already using the airtime limit, should necessarily exclude placements
on cable television.
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We respectfully call the Commission’s attention to a regulatory circumstance which is


known as the “Must Carry” requirement that affects both the television and cable
industries and that bears on the implementation of the subject Resolution.

Under the “Must Carry” requirement, cable operators within a broadcast area are
required to carry in their transmissions (or channels) the free to air television stations in
their authorized service area. This means that the programs of free television stations
are simultaneously aired on cable. Thus a candidate who may be judiciously observing
the airtime limits in so far a television placements are concerned, could be in potential
violation of the Resolution because the candidate’s advertising material is being shown
both on television and on cable and would result to a double count because they are
technically in two “television” stations.

To illustrate: if a candidate for a national position contacts for say a total of an


aggregated 120 minutes of television air time in the various television stations, the total
airtime would still be potentially 240 minutes because the same placements would be
simultaneously aired on a must carry cable channel (s).

The circumstance, therefore, also potentially exposes a cable operator to penalties for
violating the election law, but complying with a cable/broadcast industry regulatory
requirement, because strictly speaking, it is the cable operator that is airing the “excess”
minutes!

D. Technology developments and innovations, such as convergence, have practically


been disregarded in the apparent desire to curb media exposure of candidates.

Convergence of Platforms

The “must carry” requirement is just but one example of a “convergence” scenario that
renders the implementation of the subject Resolution, as promulgated, impractical. But
convergence happens in various media and telecommunications platforms and the
convergence effectively creates a multiplier effect for advertising placements. Where is
the line drawn on responsibilities or liabilities?

What about the convergence of broadcast and the internet platform? How do we treat
the streaming of a broadcast in the internet? Will this result to counting the airtime
used in the internet streaming also against the candidate? If we were to interpret the
Resolution in the context of the intention or objective to “limit airtime exposure” in
order to “level the playing field”, then there is going to be a multiplier effect (on
broadcast airtime) that results to a violation of the Resolution.

To avoid a very likely violation of the Resolution if the same is implemented in its
current wordings, a media network is practically compelled to undo years of work,
negotiations, and millions of investment put into developing a seamless convergent
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infrastructure in order to effectively deliver news, information, entertainment and


other messages to the public

Should a media, or even telecommunications, network now be penalized for investing


in the future?

Convergence and the Audience

Convergence has also resulted to the further fragmentation of viewers/listeners


in the sense that the audience has so many options to accessing news, information and
entertainment. For a candidate, this means that his messages should be in various
platforms in order to reach the same number of audience say, circa 2004.

The absence for provisions in the Resolution covering these situations creates a
Sword of Damocles on media entities using various platforms. On the part of a
candidate, he would hesitate to exploit the various platforms.

We also again call the attention of the Commission to the following provision:

Section 1, Definitions. – as used in this Resolution:

Xxxx xxxx xxxx

(4) The term "political advertisement" or "election propaganda"


refers to any matter broadcasted, published, printed, displayed or
exhibited, in any medium, xxx xxx

Political advertising includes matters, not falling within the scope


of personal opinion, that appear on any Internet website, including, but
not limited to, social networks, blogging sites, and micro-blogging sites, in
return for consideration, or otherwise capable of pecuniary estimation.

The said provision gives reason for concern of the broadcast industry that has
converged with different platforms (or that other platforms have converged into, with
or without consent of the broadcast network) because streaming or internet-casting of a
broadcast station’s programs is capable of pecuniary estimation. This means that even if
a broadcast station does not charge a candidate for the fact that its programs are
streamed in the internet or carried by other platforms, such streaming, or carriage in
other platforms, are capable of pecuniary estimation. What then are the rules of
engagement that cover such situation?
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New Media

Technology has also caused the emergence of “New Media”. How will these be
treated and what rules govern them if used in election propaganda. If persons engage
in internet casting i.e. streaming programs and other content in the internet akin to
“broadcasting” but in the internet, will this internet casting “stations” be considered in
counting airtime exposure? Obviously, the cost of advertising placement by a candidate
in the said internet “broadcast” will be counted. But what about the “internet airtime”
exposure?

We submit that the focus on traditional media without addressing situations created by
technology for “new media” and aspects of “convergent media” subjects the Resolution to the
issue of “class legislation” against “traditional media”.

SUMMATION

The broadcast industry has been asked the question on why it is taking an interest on
the matter of COMELEC Resolution No 9615 when other parties in interest, such as Political
Parties and Candidates, are not taking as keen an interest.

The KBP, as the representative of the majority of franchise grantees in the broadcast
media has, among its missions, the protection of the freedoms and rights enshrined in the
Constitution particularly the freedoms of EXPRESSION, SPEECH and the PRESS. Where such
freedoms and rights are curtailed, the KBP has the moral duty to take a stand against such
curtailment. As shown in the above submittals and discussions, there are constitutional and
legal issues that need to be addressed.

It must not be lost in the fray of discussions that the KBP advocates, and is a partner of
the Honorable Commission on Elections in the pursuit of a free, honest, orderly and clean
election process. The KBP has, in fact, been designated by law as the media representative.
The pursuit of a free, honest, orderly and clean election, noble and necessary as they may be
should never be justification to curtail constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms
especially in a political exercise that should showcase the essence of a democratic society. . .
the election by the people of their representatives.

There are also practical considerations that should be addressed if an orderly election is
to be held. The ambiguities, absence of provisions governing real and highly potential
scenarios, and possible mixed interpretations, create serious complications and implications
that can subject broadcast media outlets to sanctions and even loss of their Congressional
Franchise. That verbal assurance is made to the effect that the provisions will not be
interpreted in the manner that we have raised concern and issues about, this does not make
what is clearly written in the subject Resolution and different. In fact, that the assurances are
necessary simply indicate that the concern and/or issues are real.
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With the pronouncements and the explanations that have in fact been made by
Honorable Members of the Commission, it is clear that the definitive restriction is on election
spending and that there is a need to provide the proper mechanisms to track and regulate the
same.

It is in the context of curbing election spending that the new limits on allowable airtime
are being imposed. It is further argued that allowing more airtime is not needed or logical
because the cost of a lot of airtime is beyond the allowable election spending. The fallacy of
the argument, we submit, is the assumption that a candidate will place advertising minutes
with all stations.

The result of aggregating the airtime for political propaganda, however, has also the
effect of limiting the ability of a candidate to effectively make placements in areas where he
considers should matter. The aggregation does not also consider that the cost of television and
radio airtime in the areas outside of Metro Manila is substantially cheaper. However, the
current restriction compels a candidate or political party to focus placements in Metro Manila.
This situation also results in depriving voters in the provinces of their right to information.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully and urgently prayed that the
Honorable Commission reconsider the provisions of COMELEC Resolution 9615 thereby
promulgating Resolutions modifying, amending or clarifying the same taking into consideration
the Constitutional, legal, technical and practical concerns and issues brought forward.

Movants further pray that a Public Hearing, with stakeholders invited, be conducted in
the formulation of amendatory or clarifying Resolutions.

GIVING AND GRANTING such other measures for relief and remedies just and equitable
under the premises.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED

24 January 2013, Makati City for Manila, Philippines.

RUPERTO S. NICDAO, JR. HERMAN Z. BASBAÑO


Chairman, KBP President, KBP

And also as President of Manila Broadcasting And also as Vice President of Bombo Radyo
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ASSISTED BY:

RUDOLPH STEVE E. JULARBAL


Counsel for KBP
IBP Roll No. 30723
IBP 834219/08.13.2012/QC
PTR No. 2654335/01.19.2012/Pasay City
MCLE Comp. No. IV-0008577/10.12.2012