Philippine Daily Inquirer

Watchdog backs poll spending hike

- By Jovic Yee @jovicyeeIN­Q

The election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsibl­e Voting (PPCRV) backed a pending proposal to increase the limit of campaign expenditur­es.

PPCRV chair Rene Sarmiento said the adjustment was “long overdue” because the spending limit set more than two decades ago can no longer cover the current cost of mounting a campaign.

“Many changes had taken place since then. Prices of basic and less basic commoditie­s and our population has risen astronomic­ally, so has our voting population,” Sarmiento said.

“Time to review this anachronis­tic provision and make it realistic and responsive,” he added in a statement posted by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippine­s.


He expressed support after the House of Representa­tives approved on Tuesday House Bill No. 7295, which adjusts the authorized campaign expenses to a “more realistic level.”

Under the bill, presidenti­al candidates would be allowed to spend P2.7 billion, while vice presidenti­al candidates can spend around P2.2 billion.

The bill also grants a 1,000percent increase in the spending limit of candidates hoping to become senators, congressme­n, governors, vice governors, board members, mayors, vice mayors or councilors.

Independen­t candidates would be allowed to spend P40 for each voter, up from the cur- rent P5. The spending limit for political parties was also raised from P5 to P30.

P2.2 billion

In the 2016 presidenti­al elections, Nielsen data showed that prior to the start of the official election season, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, former Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe already spent a combined P2.2 billion on TV, radio and print ads.

But the Comelec was limited in taking action against candidates because the accounting of campaign expenditur­es does not cover expenses made before the election period.

The poll body, however, unseated Laguna Gov. EmilioRamo­n Ejercito in 2013 after hewas found to have exceeded the spending cap of around P4.6 million.

 ?? —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA ?? Voters show the money they received to vote for certain candidates during the May 14 village elections.
—NIÑO JESUS ORBETA Voters show the money they received to vote for certain candidates during the May 14 village elections.

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