Without a law banning or limiting pre-election campaigning, many national candidates advertised with impunity in the past year, with several aspirants for national positions airing ads worth almost P1 billion.
Unregulated advertising ended on Feb. 8 as the official campaign period kicked off for national candidates — those vying for the positions of president, vice-president, senator, and party-list representatives. The campaign period for local races will begin on March 25.
Here’s a list of rules and regulations governing candidates and their political parties during the campaign period, based on Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. 10730.
Candidates for president and vice president may spend P10 per registered voter while political parties and party-list groups may spend P5 per registered voters in areas where they have official candidates.
Other candidates may spend P3 per registered voter if they have political parties or P5 if they do not have political parties. The voter must be in the constituency where the candidates filed their certificates of candidacy.
There are 65,745,529 registered voters nationwide for the 2022 elections, based on a Comelec announcement. This means candidates for president and vice president may spend a maximum of P650.76 million during the three-month campaign period.
Advertising in Broadcast Media
RADIO. National candidates are allowed 180 minutes or a total of three hours of advertisements per radio station whether it aired nationwide or not. Local candidates are allowed 90 minutes of radio ads.
TELEVISION. National candidates are allowed 120 minutes or a total of 2 hours per station whether it aired nationwide or not. Local candidates are allowed 60 minutes per station.
In cases where two or more candidates appear in the ads, the length of time during which they appeared or were mentioned in the materials will be counted as the airtime allotted for these candidates or parties. This rule includes graphical representations of the candidates in the broadcast election advertisements
The appearances of candidates on newscasts, interviews, or news documentaries shall not be considered as broadcast election propaganda if the appearances are incidental to the presentation of the candidates in news documentaries or on-the-spot coverage of news events.
Campaign Materials in Print
Printed campaign materials such as leaflets, pamphlets and cards should not exceed 8.5 inches in width and 14 inches in length. Posters should not exceed the size of two feet by three feet.
Streamers and banners should not exceed the size of three feet by eight feet. These may be displayed for five days before the campaign rally or meeting and shall be removed within 24 hours after the events are held.
Posters may be displayed at the headquarters and residences of candidates, but not streamers or banners.
Before the start of the campaign period, only one signboard is allowed to identify the headquarters of the party or candidates. Its size should not exceed three feet by eight feet.
In newspapers, the maximum size for advertisement is one-fourth page in broadsheets and a half page in tabloids. These print advertisements are only allowed three times a week per newspaper, magazine or other print publications during the campaign period.
Resolution No. 10730 covers online campaigns. Candidates are required to register, within 30 days from the last day of the period for the filing of candidacies, their websites and other official accounts such as blogs and social media pages.
Only verified accounts, websites, blogs, and social media pages may run electoral ads, and boost or promote electoral posts.
Online audiences of electoral ads may only be targeted using limited criteria such as geographical location (except radius around a specific location), age, and gender. "Contextual targeting options may also be used in combination with the above-mentioned criteria," the resolution said.
Microtargeting is not allowed.
All electoral ads must disclose the identifies of those who paid for the ads. The phrase “political advertisement paid by” should appear and followed by the names and addresses of the payors.
If the election propaganda is donated by the publishing firm and the airtime for broadcast election propaganda is given free of charge — by the radio, or television station or cable television, or even online — the phrase “printed free of charge” should appear and followed by the names and addresses of the publishing firms and broadcast entities.
Comelec launched an e-rally platform to provide free live streaming for national candidates. The Facebook page Campaign S-A-F-E COMELEC e-Rally Channel will livestream the campaign activities of candidates for president, vice president, senator and partly-list representatives. They may avail themselves of slots for their rallies online.
The live-streaming of e-rallies will be conducted every night beginning Feb. 8, 2022. Three presidential and three vice-presidential candidates may be featured every night for 10 minutes each. Ten party-list groups may be given a 3-minute slot each.
These activities will not be covered by the limitations on broadcast advertising but recordings of these e-rallies should be submitted to the Comelec within 72 hours of airing.
The Comelec prohibits campaigning from April 14-15 in observance of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and from May 8-9 or the eve of Election Day.
Foreigners are not allowed to participate or contribute in connection with any election campaign or partisan political activity.
Showing videos portraying the lives of candidates where they are portrayed by an actor or media personality who is himself or herself a candidate is prohibited. Whether it is considered cinematography or documentary, these materials may not be shown in theaters, television stations, video sharing sites, social media networks.
It is also prohibited for any broadcaster to allow the scheduling of any program, or permit any sponsor to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or party by repeatedly referring to or unnecessarily mentioning his or her name.
Election materials may not be displayed in the following places: publicly owned electronic announcement boards including LED display boards located along highways and streets and LCD monitors posted on walls of public buildings; motor vehicles; MRT, LRT, and PNR trains; waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lamp posts, electric posts and wires, traffic signages, and other signboards; pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, flyovers and underpasses, bridges, main thoroughfares, center islands of roads and highways; schools, public shrines, barangay halls, government offices, health centers, public structures and buildings; and public transport terminals such as bus terminals, airports, seaports, docks, piers, train stations.
Any violation of Comelec rules may constitute an election offense punishable under Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code. Any prohibited form of election propaganda can be stopped, confiscated, removed, destroyed, or torn down by the Comelec. END
— PCIJ, February 2022