COMELEC spokesman and director for planning James Jimenez said that the bigger discounts given to candidates for their political advertisements on television and radio might not yet get implemented in this year’s elections. The law (R. A. No. 11207) increasing the discounts for political advertisements to 50 percent for television and 40 percent for radio was signed last February 14 and published in the Official Gazette last February 18. It is supposed to take effect fifteen days later, on March 5. The COMELEC has 30 days to issue the implementing rules and regulations, but, according to Jimenez, the poll body might still have to seek guidance from Congress on its implementation since the law was passed after the campaign period had already started.
Jimenez spoke on the election campaign rules before broadcasters during the general meeting of the KBP last February 19 at the Milky Way Café.
Jimenez also defended the COMELEC against accusations that it is trying to regulate content in social media. The COMELEC’s new rules on election propaganda now classifies social media as mass media, subjecting it to the campaign rules. Jimenez said that the COMELEC is not trying to regulate content in social media but is instead concerned with the hidden campaign expenses of candidates. He said that these expenses mainly involve the cost of producing campaign materials and cost of content promotion through boosting of social media posts.