AN ACT TO ENHANCE THE HOLDING OF FREE, ORDERLY, HONEST, PEACEFUL AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS THROUGH FAIR ELECTION PRACTICES
Sec. 3. Lawful Election Propaganda. – Election propaganda whether on television, cable television, radio, newspapers or any other medium is hereby allowed for all registered political parties, national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations participating under the party-list elections and for all bona fide candidates seeking national and local elective positions subject to the limitation on authorized expenses of candidates and political parties, observance of truth in advertising and to the supervision and regulation by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).For the purpose of this Act, lawful election propaganda shall include:
3.1. Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written or printed materials the size of which does not exceed eight and one-half inches in width and fourteen inches in length;
3.2. Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or candidate for public office;
3.3. Cloth, paper or cardboard posters whether framed, or posted, with an area not exceeding two (2) feet by three (3) feet, except that, at the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally, or in announcing the holding of said meeting or rally, streamers not exceeding three (3) feet by eight (8) feet in size, shall be allowed: Provided, That said streamers may be displayed five (5) days before the date of the meeting or rally and shall be removed within twenty-four (24) hours after said meeting or rally;
3.4. Paid advertisements in print or broadcast media: Provided, That the advertisements shall follow the requirements set forth in Section 4 of this Act; and
3.5. All other forms of election propaganda not prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code or this Act.
Sec. 4. Requirements for Published or Printed and Broadcast Election Propaganda. –
4.1. Any newspaper, newsletter, news weekly, gazette or magazine advertising, posters, pamphlets, comic books, circulars, handbills, bumper stickers, streamers, simple list of candidates or any published or printed political matter and any broadcast of election propaganda by television or radio for or against a candidate or group of candidates to any public office shall bear and be identified by the reasonably legible or audible words “political advertisement paid for,” followed by the true and correct name and address of the candidate or party for whose benefit the election propaganda was printed or aired.
4.2. If the broadcast is given free of charge by the radio or television station, it shall be identified by the words “airtime for this broadcast was provided free of charge by” followed by the true and correct name and address of the broadcast entity.
4.3. Print, broadcast or outdoor advertisements donated to the candidate or political party shall not be printed, published, broadcast or exhibited without the written acceptance by the said candidate or political party. Such written acceptance shall be attached to the advertising contract and shall be submitted to the COMELEC as provided in Subsection 6.3 hereof.
Sec. 5. Election Surveys. –
5.1. Election surveys refer to the measurement of opinions and perceptions of the voters as regards a candidate’s popularity, qualifications, platforms or a matter of public discussion in relation to the election, including voters’ preference for candidates or publicly discussed issues during the campaign period (hereafter referred to as “Survey”).
5.2. During the election period, any person, natural as well as juridical, candidate or organization who publishes a survey must likewise publish the following information:
(a) The name of the person, candidate, party or organization who commissioned or paid for the survey;
(b) The name of the person, polling firm or survey organization who conducted the survey;
(c) The period during which the survey was conducted, the methodology used, including the number of individual respondents and the areas from which they were selected, and the specific questions asked;
(d) The margin of error of the survey;
(e) For each question for which the margin of error is greater than that reported under paragraph (d), the margin of error for that question; and
(f) A mailing address and telephone number, indicating it as an address or telephone number at which the sponsor can be contacted to obtain a written report regarding the survey in accordance with Subsection 5.3.
5.3. The survey together with raw data gathered to support its conclusions shall be available for inspection, copying and verification by the COMELEC or by a registered political party or a bona fide candidate, or by any COMELEC-accredited citizen’s arm. A reasonable fee sufficient to cover the costs of inspection, copying and verification may be charged.
5.4. Surveys affecting national candidates shall not be published fifteen (15) days before an election and surveys affecting local candidates shall not be published seven (7) days before an election.
5.5. Exit polls may only be taken subject to the following requirements:
(a) Pollsters shall not conduct their surveys within fifty (50) meters from the poling place, whether said survey is taken in a home, dwelling place and other places;
(b) Pollsters shall wear distinctive clothing;
(c) Pollsters shall inform the voters that they may refuse to answer; and
(d) The result of the exit polls may be announced after the closing of the polls on election day, and must clearly identify the total number of respondents, and the places where they were taken. Said announcement shall state that the same is unofficial and does not represent a trend.
Sec. 6. Equal Access to Media Time and Space. – All registered parties and bona fide candidates have equal access to media time and space. The following guidelines may be amplified on by the COMELEC:
6.1. Print advertisements shall not exceed one-fourth (1/4) page in broadsheet and one-half (1/2) page in tabloids thrice a week per newspaper, magazine or other publications, during the campaign period.
6.2. (a) Each bona fide candidate or registered political party for a nationally elective office shall be entitled to not more than one hundred twenty (120) minutes of television advertisement and one hundred eighty (180) minutes of radio advertisement whether by purchase or donation.
(b) Each bona fide candidate or registered political party for a locally elective office shall be entitled to not more than sixty (60) minutes of television advertisement and ninety (90) minutes of radio advertisement whether by purchase or donation.
For this purpose, the COMELEC shall require any broadcast station or entity to submit to the COMELEC a copy of its broadcast logs and certificates of performance for the review and verification of the frequency, date, time and duration of advertisements broadcast for any candidate or political party.
6.3. All mass media entities shall furnish the COMELEC with a copy of all contracts for advertising, promoting or opposing any political party or the candidacy of any person for public office within five (5) days after its signing. In every case, it shall be signed by the donor, the candidate concerned or by the duly authorized representative of the political party.
6.4. No franchise or permit to operate a radio or television station shall be granted or issued, suspended or cancelled during the election period.
In all instances, the COMELEC shall supervise the use and employment of press, radio and television facilities insofar as the placement of political advertisements is concerned to ensure that candidates are given equal opportunities under equal circumstances to make known their qualifications and their stand on public issues within the limits set forth in the Omnibus Election Code and Republic Act No. 7l66 on election spending.
The COMELEC shall ensure that radio or television or cable television broadcasting entities shall not allow the scheduling of any program or permit any sponsor to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or political party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or including said candidate and/or political party in such program respecting, however, in all instances the right of said broadcast entities to air accounts of significant news or news worthy events and views on matters of public interest.
6.5. All members of media, television, radio or print, shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis.
They shall recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.
6.6. Any mass media columnist, commentator, announcer, reporter, on-air correspondent or personality who is a candidate for any elective public office or is a campaign volunteer for or employed or retained in any capacity by any candidate or political party shall be deemed resigned, if so required by their employer, or shall take a leave of absence from his/her work as such during the campaign period: Provided, That any media practitioner who is an official of a political party or a member of the campaign staff of a candidate or political party shall not use his/her time or space to favor any candidate or political party.
6.7. No movie, cinematograph or documentary portraying the life or biography of a candidate shall be publicly exhibited in a theater, television station or any public forum during the campaign period.
6.8. No movie, cinematograph or documentary portrayed by an actor or media personality who is himself a candidate shall likewise be publicly exhibited in a theater or any public forum during the campaign period.
Sec. 7. Affirmative Action by the COMELEC. –
7.1. Pursuant to Sections 90 and 92 of the Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881), the COMELEC shall procure the print space upon payment of just compensation from at least three (3) national newspapers of general circulation wherein candidates for national office can announce their candidacies. Such space shall be allocated free of charge equally and impartially among all the candidates for national office on three (3) different calendar days: the first day within the first week of the campaign period; the second day within the fifth week of the campaign period; and the third day within the tenth week of the campaign period.
7.2. The COMELEC shall also procure free airtime from at least three (3) national television networks and three (3) national radio networks, which shall also be allocated free of charge equally and impartially among all candidates for national office. Such free time shall be allocated on three (3) different calendar days: the first day within the first week of the campaign period; the second day within the fifth week of the campaign period; and the third day within the tenth week of the campaign period.
7.3. The COMELEC may require national television and radio networks to sponsor at least three (3) national debates among presidential candidates and at least one (1) national debate among vice presidential candidates. The debates among presidential candidates shall be scheduled on three (3) different calendar days: the first debate shall be scheduled within the first and second week of the campaign period; the second debate within the fifth and six week of the campaign period; and the third debate shall be scheduled within the tenth and eleventh week of the campaign period.
The sponsoring television or radio network may sell airtime for commercials and advertisements to interested advertisers and sponsors. The COMELEC shall promulgate rules and regulations for the holding of such debates.
(SGD.) AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR.
President of the Senate
(SGD.) FELICIANO BELMONTE, JR.
Speaker of the House Representatives
This Act which is consolidation of House Bill No. 9000 and the Senate Bill No. 1742 was finally passed by the House of Representative and the Senate on February 7, 2001.
(SGD.) LUTGARDO B. BARBO
Secretary of the Senate
(SGD.) ROBERTO P. NAZARENO
Secretary General House of Representatives
Approved: 12 February 2001.
(SGD.) GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
President of Philippines