Comelec taps partners for campaign spend watch

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 19 2012 04:57 PM | Updated as of Dec 20 2012 12:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will tap local election officers, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman in efforts to clamp down on excessive campaign spending for the 2013 mid-term elections.

Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the commission is now drafting rules to tap local election officers in data gathering and enforcement of campaign finance rules.

This will be included in the training modules for election officers ahead of the elections.

Lim said the Comelec law department will serve as the campaign finance unit of the poll body for the 2013 elections. He said the poll body is undermanned for campaign finance monitoring.

In the long term, a permanent, separate campaign finance unit will be created.

Lim said the mid-term election is an experimental stage to enforce campaign finance regulations in preparation for the presidential election in 2016. He said more money for campaign finances will pour in for the presidential elections, making 2013 an opportunity to pinpoint legal loopholes and plugging the loopholes.

The poll body is set to release instructions on election propaganda, which will be synched with campaign finance rules as well as efforts from the BIR, COA and Ombudsman.

Lim said tax records may also be used in pinpointing campaign financing.

The Comelec commissioner said the poll body is also looking at making sure public money is not spent in campaigning, which Lim said is the worst form of campaign financing.

Lim was a speaker at a Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism forum on campaign financing this morning.