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Bets get 48 hrs to reply to aired raps

Candidates can invoke their right to reply to charges against them in radio and television within 48 hours after filing at the Commission on Elections  a verified claim on the media outlet, officials said on Tuesday. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the commission expanded from 24 hours to 48 hours but without extension the right of candidates to invoke their right to reply. “The claim shall include a detailed enumeration of the circumstances and occurrences that warrant the invocation of the right to reply and must be accompanied by supporting evidence, such as a copy of the publication or recording of the television or radio broadcast, as the case my be,” Brillantes said. The Comelec retained airtime limits for politicians at 120 minutes TV and 180 minutes radio for national candidates, and 60 minutes TV and 90 minutes radio for local candidates. The poll body turned down proposals from media outlets to restore political airtime used in the 2010 elections, which were GMA radio and television network described the new rules as “cruel and oppressive. Brillantes said a claim invoking the right to reply should be supported by evidence  and the media outlet should be given a copy of the verified claim. “If the supporting evidence is not yet available due to circumstances beyond the power of the claimant, the latter shall supplement his claim as soon as the supporting evidence becomes available,” he said. Brillantes said the media outlet must be given a copy of the claim and the Comelec has 48 hours to study the claim and to forward it to the media outlet for appropriate action. “Should the claimant insist that his right to reply was not addressed, he may file the appropriate petition before the Comelec or its field offices, which will be endorsed to the Clerk of the Commission,” Brillantes said. At the House of Representatives, House Deputy Minority Leader and Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay urged Brillantes to also address the reported glitches in the mock polls held last Saturday. “The mock polls suffered glitches like the non-acceptance of official ballots as well as some difficulty in transmitting the results due to poor signals. These are vulnerabilities that can come up during the actual elections,” Magsaysay said. To ensure a clean and honest elections with credible results, the Comelec should be able to eliminate problems that emerged during the mock polls, Magsaysay said. She said she was alarmed at reports that signal jammers could disrupt and manipulate the transmission of results during the elections. “The Comelec must thoroughly investigate the cause of the poor signals or if it has been disrupted by another party,” Magsaysay said. House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said Brillantes should be able to come with a comprehensive contingency plan in case the same glitches recur during the actual voting. “The glitches, obviously, should be a cause for alarm,” Suarez said.
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