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Philippine Press Institute vs.

COMELEC issued resolution 2772 directing newspapers to provide provide free print space of
not less than one half (1/2) page for use as Comelec Space which shall be allocated by the
Commission, free of charge, among all candidates within the area in which the newspaper,
magazine or periodical is circulated to enable the candidates to make known their
qualifications, their stand on public issues and their platforms and programs of government.
Philippine Press Institute, a non-stock, non-profit organization of newspaper and magazine
publishers asks the Court to declare said resolution unconstitutional and void on the ground
that it violates the prohibition imposed by the Constitution upon the government, and any of
its agencies, against the taking of private property for public use without just compensation.
The Office of the Solicitor General, on behalf of Comelec alleged that the resolution does not
impose upon the publishers any obligation to provide free print space in the newspapers. It
merely established guidelines to be followed in connection with the procurement of Comelec
space. And if it is viewed as mandatory, the same would nevertheless be valid as an exercise
of the police power of the State- a permissible exercise of the power of supervision or
regulation of the Comelec over the communication and information operations of print media
enterprises during the election period to safeguard and ensure a fair, impartial and credible
Whether the resolution was a valid exercise of the power of eminent domain?
The Supreme Court declared the Resolution as unconstitutional. It held that to compel print
media companies to donate Comelec space amounts to taking of private personal property
without payment of the just compensation required in expropriation cases. The threshold
requisites for a lawful taking of private property for public use are the necessity for the taking
and the legal authority to effect the taking. The element of necessity for the taking has not
been established by respondent Comelec considering that the newspapers were not unwilling
to sell advertising space. The taking of private property for public use is authorized by the
constitution, but not without payment of just compensation. Also Resolution No. 2772 does not
constitute a valid exercise of the police power of the state. In the case at bench, there is no
showing of existence of a national emergency to take private property of newspaper or
magazine publishers.
However, Sec 8 still stands as it is within the power of COMELEC to control the media
influences of candidates to prevent unequal campaigns.