Saturday, August 29, 2015


Online Political Campaign

Once the campaign starts on February 12, 2013 the Commission on Elections will regulate and monitor online political advertisement or political campaigning that appears in internet websites, blogging sites, and micro-blogging sites. This new online election propaganda feature is provided in Resolution No. 9615 issued last January 15, 2013, the Rules and Regulations implementing Republic Act No. 9006 known as the Fair Election Act, relative to May 13, 2013 Automated Synchronized National and Local Elections.

"Given the many improvements, particularly in the social media like Facebook and Twitter… and to keep up with all these technology, the law has to be adjusted. It is well within the power of the Comelec to enforce such laws. That is just keeping with our mandate," thus said by Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento in an interview.

“We will be implementing this resolution and then we will observe once the campaign starts. There really isn’t any prohibition, but in coming out with this resolution we are saying they would limit it. We can always amend the resolution or supplement the resolution after we see [what] rules are being abused,” Comelec Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. said.

“People will not be prohibited from posting messages of support for their candidates since it would be considered as freedom of expression. Those working in the government however cannot be publicly endorsing candidates on online sites, explained Chairman Brillantes.

Said resolution provides that, “personal opinions, views, and preferences for candidates, contained in blogs shall not be considered acts of election campaigning or partisan political activity unless expressed by government officials in the Executive Department, the Legislative Department, the Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and members of the Civil Service.”

How would these limitation to candidates for using the online medium be carried out, Brillantes said that the limit was on how much they spend. Since Facebook and twitter accounts, for example, are free, then there technically won’t be any limit.

"Of course you need to regulate online campaigning... You still generate expense when you advertise online. So that has to be regulated," said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.

The Comelec will only allow online propaganda advertisements in the form of pop-ups, rectangles, banners, buttons, and skyscrapers  to be published thrice a week for each website during the campaign period. The display of online campaign for any length of time within a 24-hour period shall be construed as one instance of publication. Said online advertisements shall "not be published more than three times in a week per website" during the campaign period.

In its rules, the Comelec said the maximum size for online materials for each candidate shall be medium (300 width x 250 height); square pop-up (250 x 250); vertical rectangle (240 x 400); large rectangle (336 x 280); rectangle (180 x 150); 3:1 rectangle (300 x 100); pop-under (7.20 x 300); full banner (468 x 60); half banner (234 x 60); micro bar (88 x 31); button 1 (120 x 90); button 2 (120 x 60); vertical banner (120 x 240); square button (125 x 125); leaderboard (728 x 90); wide skyscrapers (160 x 600); skyscraper (120 x 600); and half-page ad (300 x 600).

On the other hand, website owners or administrators are being directed to submit to the Comelec a certified true copy of the logs, which will be subjected to the review and verification of the frequency, date, time, and duration of ads aired for any candidate or party.

Broadcast Political Campaign

Aside from the new rules on online campaigning, the Comelec also sought to amend rules on political campaign in broadcast media.

Under  Resolution No. 9615, the new implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Act, the runtime of campaign advertisements of national candidates in both television and radio should be "aggregate" and no longer per station as in the practice in previous elections.

Candidates running for national posts will only be allowed to run their campaign ads for 120 minutes on television and 180 minutes on radio while local candidates are given only 60 minutes of television exposure and 90 minutes on radio.

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I am a Responsible and Principled Citizen.

I will educate myself and others about the issues at hand so that my vote is a meaningful and relevant exercise of my right of suffrage.

I pledge to vote for candidates who will abide by the duly constituted rules on campaigning because I understand that those who refuse to obey the law in the little things are not likely to obey the law in the more important things;

I pledge to vote for candidates who, by word and action, renounce violence, coercion, vote-buying, and corruption as means for getting elected;

I pledge to vote for the candidates who listen to their constituents and are responsive to the needs and aspirations of those they seek to represent;

I pledge to vote as my conscience dictates in all elections.

I make these promises freely and upon my honor.

(This Voter Pledge was read at the Unity Walk of 13 January 2013, by COMELEC Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph)