Senate okays bill raising spending limit of candidates

Published November 19, 2018, 3:40 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

The Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and Peoples’ Participation has approved for plenary debates a bill which seeks to raise the spending limit of candidates and political parties during elections.

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, committee chairman and author of the Senate Bill 2072, said the measure will encourage transparency in declaring campaign expenses.

Pimentel, on the other hand, said the proposed increase in the spending cap will “remain conservative” to avoid overspending and “ensure that all those participating in the poll exercise will be competing on equal footing with other candidates.”

In the Senate electoral committee’s report, independent senatorial, party-list and other candidates may spend from P6 to P8 per voter, while candidates who are running under a political party or being endorsed by political parties may spend P6 per voter.

From the current P5, the spending limit for political parties is proposed to be increased to P8.

Under the bill, the aggregate amount that a candidate for president and vice president will spend for every voter shall remain at P10.

In filing the bill which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7166 or the “Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations therefore, and for other Purposes,” Pimentel explained that candidates now find it difficult to limit their campaign spending since prices of materials, including printing and reproduction, as well as mass media advertisement, transportation, and other operational expenses “have noticeably increased in the past two decades.”

He said the rates limiting the expenses of candidates and political parties remained the same for 25 years, and are no longer realistic.

The cases filed by the Commission on Elections on overspenders before the courts prove that candidates are “struggling” to spend within the allowable amounts provided by law, he said.

Aside from Pimentel, those who signed the report were Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri,  Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Sens. Nancy Binay, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, and  Grace Poe.

 
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