SC: Comelec can order pollsters to divulge funders
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, April 7, said it upheld the Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution in 2013 that required survey firms to divulge their funders.
The SC, however, nullified part of Comelec Resolution 9674. This portion allowed the Comelec to prosecute survey firms if they fail to follow this rule.
In a resolution issued after their en banc session in Baguio City, the High Court said: "Wherefore, the petition is partially granted: (1) Comelec Resolution 9674 is upheld; (2) respondent Comelec is enjoined from prosecuting petitioners for their supposed violation of Comelec Resolution 9674 in respect of their non-submission of the names of all commissioners and payors, including subscribers, of surveys published during the campaign period for the 2013 elections."
This comes nearly two years after polling firms Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia challenged Comelec Resolution 9674 before the High Court.
In a joint statement in July 2013, SWS and Pulse Asia slammed then Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr for "threatening to file criminal charges" against survey firms for violating Comelec Resolution 9674.
The two pollsters said they were not obliged to heed the resolution.
In Comelec Resolution 9674, the Comelec ordered pollsters to submit, at most 3 days after receiving the resolution, "the names of all commissioners and payors of surveys published from February 12, 2013 to the date of the promulgation of this resolution." (READ: Comelec's rule on surveys: 'Half victory')
"The submission shall include the names of all 'subscribers' of those published surveys. Such information/data shall be for the exclusive and confidential use of the commission," the Comelec said.
The Comelec said all surveys, after the resolution was promulgated, "must be accompanied by all the information required in Republic Act No. 9006, including the names of the commissioners, payors, and subscribers." – Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com