The respondent gave its own understanding of the

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The respondent gave its own understanding of the import of the legislative deliberations on the adoption of R.A. No. 9006 as follows:
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POLITICAL LAW CASE DIGESTS 310 The legislative history of R.A. 9006 clearly shows that Congress intended to impose the per candidate or political party aggregate total airtime limits on political advertisements and election propaganda. This is evidenced by the dropping of the "per day per station" language embodied in both versions of the House of Representatives and Senate bills in favour of the "each candidate" and "not more than" limitations now found in Section 6 of R.A. 9006. The Court does not agree. It cannot bring itself to read the changes in the bill as disclosing an intent that the COMELEC wants this Court to put on the final language of the law. If anything, the change in language meant that the computation must not be based on a "per day" basis for each television or radio station. The same could not therefore lend itself to an understanding that the total allowable time is to be done on an aggregate basis for all television or radio stations. Clearly, the respondent in this instance went beyond its legal mandate when it provided for rules beyond what was contemplated by the law it is supposed to implement. The guaranty of freedom to speak is useless without the ability to communicate and disseminate what is said. And where there is a need to reach a large audience, the need to access the means and media for such dissemination becomes critical. This is where the press and broadcast media come along. At the same time, the right to speak and to reach out would not be meaningful if it is just a token ability to be heard by a few. It must be coupled with substantially reasonable means by which the communicator and the audience could effectively interact. Section 9 (a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, with its adoption of the "aggregate-based" airtime limits unreasonably restricts the guaranteed freedom of speech and of the press. Political speech is one of the most important expressions protected by the Fundamental Law. "[F]reedom of speech, of expression, and of the press are at the core of civil liberties and have to be protected at all costs for the sake of democracy." Accordingly, the same must remain unfettered unless otherwise justified by a compelling state interest. Section 9 (a) ofCOMELEC Resolution No. 9615 comes up with what is challenged as being an unreasonable basis for determining the allowable air time that candidates and political parties may avail of. The assailed rule on " aggregate-based" airtime limits is unreasonable and arbitrary as it unduly restricts and constrains the ability of candidates and political parties to reach out and communicate with the people. Here, the adverted reason for imposing the " aggregate- based" airtime limits - leveling the playing field - does not constitute a compelling state interest which would justify such a substantial restriction on the freedom of candidates and political parties to communicate their ideas, philosophies, platforms
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  • Winter '15
  • Atty. Ignacio
  • Candide

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