Sanidad vs. COMELEC G.R. 90878, January 29, 1990

Facts: In a petition dated November 20, 1989, herein petitioner Pablito V. Sanidad, who claims to be a newspaper columnist of the “OVERVIEW” for the BAGUIO MIDLAND COURIER, a weekly newspaper circulated in the City of Baguio and the Cordilleras, assailed the constitutionality of Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167, which provides:

Section 19. Prohibition on columnists, commentators or announcers. — During the plebiscite campaign period, on the day before and on the plebiscite day, no mass media columnist, commentator, announcer or personality shall use his column or radio or television time to campaign for or against the plebiscite issues.

It is alleged by petitioner that said provision is void and unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the press enshrined in the Constitution.

Issue: Whether Section 19 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2167 inviolate the right to Freedom of Expression.

Held: Yes. While the limitation does not absolutely bar petitioner’s freedom of expression, it is still a restriction on his choice of the forum where he may express his view. No reason was advanced by respondent to justify such abridgment. We hold that this form of regulation is tantamount to a restriction of petitioner’s freedom of expression for no justifiable reason.

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