MANILA - The chairman of the Commission on Elections on Tuesday rejected the defense of Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon "ER" Ejercito that excesses in his campaign spending did not come from his own pocket but were contributions.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said there is clear evidence that Ejercito exceeded the P4.5 million campaign spending cap during the May 2013 elections. He said one contract showed Ejercito spending P6 million on TV ads for just one network.
"The evidence against Governor ER are documents. Overspending ito e. This is not a case of vote buying," he told ANC's Headstart.
Under the Fair Elections Act, a candidate is allowed to spend only P3 for every voter registered in the area where the candidate filed his certificate of candidacy. For Laguna, the campaign spending cap was at P4.5 million for the 1,525,522 registered voters in the province.
The Comelec First Division earlier disqualified Ejercito for overspending in the last polls. Ejercito has denied the allegation and filed a motion for reconsideration before the commission en banc.
Brillantes said Ejercito only declared campaign expenses of P4.1 million in the last election.
He said Ejercito's defense in his MR noted that "these were contributions by other people who wanted to assist him and that he said, this was not his own expenses."
"But the rules say even contributions, if you spend it, it is part of your expenditures," the Comelec chief said.
Brillantes said the decision of the Comelec en banc will be final and executory unless Ejercito brings the matter before the Supreme Court and the SC issues a temporary restraining order.
He cited the case of one poll winner who was unable to sit in office because of a stay order issued by the High Court.