LEGAZPI CITY, 21April2013 – “The latest decision of the Supreme Court lifting the cap on airtime of campaign advertisements hit Commissioner Sixto Brilliantes hard because of the series of decisions the Court has made that goes against the COMELEC’s decisions,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said yesterday.
“But it hit us, marginalized party-lists, harder because the lifting of the COMELEC regulation of airtime will enable the rich and powerful candidates, especially the fake party-list organized by the rich and powerful politicians, to defeat those with less fortune when it comes to airtime. We are hard up putting up a nationwide campaign, much less affording radio airtime and not even a single 15-second television advertisement. How are we supposed to compete with multi-billionaires or those backed by the Palace?” he asked.
Rep. Colmenares said that the COMELEC had intended to level the playing field for all the candidates. “The limit on the airtime of political advertisements was a helpful tool in order that the rich and powerful candidates cannot just drown out the poorer candidates and party-lists by occupying the airwaves because they can afford it. Now that the decision of the SC is out staying that COMELEC resolution, we can expect that powerful and wealthy candidates, such as the billionaire contractor who heads Ako Bicol, or Abang Lingkod of Rep. Albee Benitez of the Liberal Party, will almost definitely buy all the available airtime in all the radio and television stations,” Rep. Colmenares stated
He said that the latest Supreme Court decision is very clearly in favour of the wealthy, powerful economic and political elites. “The SC has totally lost track of the social justice concept. Its decision is anti-poor and any one who supports it is helping deprive the poor of its seats in Congress,” he added.