January 27, 2022 | 2:09 p.m.
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has called for an investigation into the alleged practice by some media outlets of raising their rates for campaign advertisements to unreasonable levels ahead of the election.
According to him, a number of national candidates claimed that “several television and radio stations” have increased their advertising rates this year, compared to last year’s levels.
Pimentel said it indicated a possible violation of the Fair Elections Act, which allows candidates “reasonable fees” and discounts to promote media advertisements.
“This practice by certain media outlets could violate the clear intent and spirit of RA 11207 (Fair Election Act) and defeats the purpose of the law in giving candidates a fair chance to benefit from advertisements in the media during the campaign period at reasonable rates,” he said in a resolution filed Monday.
Under the Fair Elections Act, television and radio stations are required to provide reduced tariffs of 50% and 40%, respectively, to registered political parties and bona fide candidates, based on averages of tariffs published during the last three years preceding the elections.
Pimentel cited the case of an unnamed television network that allegedly charged 615,000 pesos for a 30-second commercial on its weekend public affairs program last year.
This year, the same television network published a new rate of 646,000 pesos for an advertisement of the same length on the same program – which it claims is already reduced.
Last year, the Election Commission said it would strictly monitor spending limits on political ads on social media – which the agency considers a form of broadcast media – as it expects candidates to maximize their presence on new media platforms.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google earlier announced it would halt political advertising on its platform between February 8 and May 9, 2022, the day of national and local elections.
During this period, the search engine will not serve election advertisements that promote or oppose a political party or an individual’s candidacy for public office.