Celebrities endorsing electoral candidates were given a choice by the Fair Election Act to either take a leave or resign permanently from their TV shows. The Commission on Election (Comelec) announced earlier that it will start implementing this rule by monitoring the media exposure of personalities and celebrities on TV and radio.
The Fair Election Act or Republic Act 9006 states:
"Any mass media columnist, commentator, announcer, reporter, on-air correspondent or personality who is a candidate for any elective public office or is a campaign volunteer for or employed or retained in any capacity by any candidate or political party shall be deemed resigned, if so required by their employer, or shall take a leave of absence from his/her work as such during the campaign period."
TALENTS ARE NOT EMPLOYEES. ABS-CBN pointed out, however, that the Act is not supposed to restrict their stars when it comes to their activities on television. In a statement sent to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) via e-mail this afternoon, February 11, ABS-CBN stated that the law cited by the Comelec involves only the employees. Talents are not employees of the network, hence the ruling "does not apply to them."
Here's the Kapamilya network's statement in full:
"The call for ABS-CBN talents who endorse candidates to go on leave during the campaign period is not required by the Fair Election Act or its implementing rules and regulations. Section 36 of Comelec Resolution No. 8758 in relation to Section 1 (4) thereof and the Fair Election Act merely requires that media practitioners such as talents 'shall not use his/her time or space to favor any candidate.' In this regard, it is ABS-CBN's policy that its talents may not use any program to endorse or promote any candidate. This policy is strictly enforced by the network.
"The provision of law cited by the PPCRV [Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting] and Comelec that requires media personalities to either resign or go on leave applies to employees only. Talents are not employees of the network and, therefore, the said provision does not apply to them."