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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Legarda foresees overspending 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

CITY AIRPORT, Tagbilaran Bohol, April 23, 2013—With or without the Supreme Court lifting of the airtime restrictions for political advertisement of candidates, Loren Legarda said she will stick to the Commission on Election (COMELEC) Resolution 9615. 

It may recalled that in January, the COMELEC, in its supervisory and regulatory function in matters of political advertisements promulgated Resolution 9615, which pegs the limits for airtime privileges of national candidates to be, not over an aggregate of 120 minutes for television advertising and 180 minutes of radio advertising. 

For local candidates, the resolution provides that airtime advertisement should not be over an aggregate total of 60 minutes of television ad, and 90 minutes of radio ad, whether airing on national, regional, or local radio, whether by purchase or donation. 

Legarda’s contention is grounded on the fact that if a candidate uses up his 120 minutes of television time, he would be left with practically nothing for other logistics, considering that a national candidate has only about P150M of campaign kitty to spend. 

The Comelec resolution triggers a media giant and a broadcaster’s organization; the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas to seek SC intervention via a petition, as they allege that the resolution is too restrictive, reports said. 

A few days ago, the SC resolved and stopped the COMELEC from imposing the restrictive ad ban by issuing an ante order status quo which leaves the 2010 resolution in effect. 

This also allows candidates to contract airtime at 180 and 120 minutes in each station, instead of the aggregate total. 
But for Loren Legarda, who has been in television for a long time, she hinted that at the current rates, a 30-second television ad costs almost half a million. 

A candidate is allowed to spent P3.00 per candidate and with the country’s registered voters now reaching 50 million, which sums up to P150M allowable expenditure for each national candidate, she calculated. 

“With a 30 second spot for television reaching almost half a million, if a candidate were to use up his 120 minutes as ruled by Comelec, that would already be P120M in expenditure,” she told media covering her arrival in Bohol. 

As to the radio airtime of 180 minutes, if a candidate uses up all his allotted media ads slot, he would be spending more and what the law provides, she said. 

“it is unconscionable to spend that much too,” Legarda said. 

In short, even if there is a lifting of the airtime, as long as there one spends his allotted time, he should already be in violation of the Comelec resolutions. 

On this, Legarda then calls for her fellow candidates to be transparent instead. 

If everybody follows the airtime policy, he would surely go beyond the allowable spending time, Legarda, who promised to keep her expenditures below P100M, now pointed out. (30/gg)

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