Comelec set to name more overspending candidates

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at Sep 03 2014 01:27 PM | Updated as of Sep 03 2014 09:27 PM

MANILA – Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the poll body is set to reveal more names of candidates who committed campaign overspending in the previous elections.

''Within the next few weeks maraming tatamaan sa expenses limit, iyung mga nag-submit ng mga SOCE (Statement of Contributions and Expenditures),'' Brillantes told dzMM.

The Comelec earlier ordered ER Ejercito to vacate his post after the poll body ruled that he committed campaign overspending.

Edgar San Luis of the Liberal Party (LP) first filed the petition for disqualification against Ejercito, stating that Ejercito was allowed to spend only P4.5 million or P3 for each of the 1,525,522 voters in Laguna.

Comelec records showed Ejercito spent P23.5 million during the campaign, way beyond his authorized campaign limit of P4.5 million or P3 each for 1,525,522 voters.

Ejercito vacated his post and was replaced by the province's elected vice-governor, Ramil Hernandez of the Nacionalista Party. The ousted governor has a pending appeal before the Supreme Court.

Brillantes said the recent ruling of the SC on airtime limits should not be connected with the rule on campaign spending.

''Meron kasi akong naririnig na baka manalo na si ER sa Korte Suprema. Hindi ho totoo iyon. Walang connection ang airtime limits sa expenses limit under the campaign finance law,'' Brillantes said.

The high court earlier struck down a portion of Comelec Resolution no. 9615, as amended by Resolution No. 9631, which imposed to national candidates ''aggregate total'' airing caps of 120 minutes and 180 minutes for television and radio stations, respectively.

The assailed Comelec resolution also imposed to local candidates a 60-minute cap for television advertising and 90-minute cap for radio advertising for all stations and networks.

In its decision, the SC said the manner by which the Comelec changed the previous regulation from "per station" to "aggregate total" per candidate was arbitrary.

The SC said the resolution also violates freedom of expression, speech and of the press, and the people's right to suffrage. It also noted the absence of prior hearing before the adoption of the policy.

Brillantes said in view of the SC ruling, the poll body will shift its focus on monitoring candidates who will overspend in their respective election campaigns.