Binay seeks clearance on excess campaign funds

By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Sep 25 2014 02:19 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2014 10:19 PM

MANILA - The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay said it will seek clearance from the Commission on Elections and the Bureau of Internal Revenue on how it will treat the excess campaign contributions that was declared in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).

In a text message, lawyer Martin Subido said the contributions are intact and were declared in the vice president’s SALNs.

“For now, [it will stay there]. We can seek clarity on this matter with the Comelec and the BIR.”

“In 2010, there was no BIR regulation saying that excess of campaign contribution is taxable income. Thus, it was treated as excess donations received by the candidate (that are exempt from donors tax); hence not income, therefore not taxable,” he added.

In 2010, Binay received total contributions amounting to P231.48 million, and spent P217.94 million. This left him an excess campaign contribution of P13.54 million.

This, plus the sale of his business interest in a piggery farm, bolstered his net worth over the past few years, his camp said.

In several documents sent to the media on Wednesday, the vice presidential legal counsel said Binay’s net worth registered at P60,118,766 as of end 2013. His assets amounted to P66,171,663, while liabilities registered at P6,052,897.

Subido said Binay’s net worth was mainly due to the JCB Farms, a piggery business he started in 1994, as well as the disposition of real properties that he owned prior to his election as Makati mayor in 1988.

The JCB Farms earned Binay an additional net income of P44,350,921.88 from 1994 to 2010. During the said period, Binay paid taxes amounting to P15,889,581.83.

He then disposed of his business interests there after the 2010 elections.

This increased his net worth to P58,096,290.78 in 2010, or P13,306,757.44 higher than his 2009 net worth.

Asked for comment, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body has no rules on campaign contributions.

“We explored it in the past, but the authority of the Comelec is only to monitor the spending for campaigns,” he said.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, there are limits imposed on the amount a candidate may spend per voter. Nonetheless, there is no law limiting the amount of campaign donations the candidate may receive.

Some quarters believe donations are defined as public funds.

The issue was raised in the past when then Senator Panfilo Lacson alleged that former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo siphoned campaign funds towards the so-called Jose Pidal accounts.