Comelec says no rules on unspent campaign funds

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2022 08:04 PM

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice President Leni Robredo speak to members of the press during a visit at the Vaccine Express site at the Cultural Center of the Philippines bay parking in Manila on June 22, 2021. The ‘Vaccine Express’ program of the Office of the Vice President aims to vaccinate tricycle, pedicab and jeepney drivers, who are all under the A4 priority vaccination category, from Manila. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice President Leni Robredo speak to members of the press during a visit at the Vaccine Express site at the Cultural Center of the Philippines bay parking in Manila on June 22, 2021. The ‘Vaccine Express’ program of the Office of the Vice President aims to vaccinate tricycle, pedicab and jeepney drivers, who are all under the A4 priority vaccination category, from Manila. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — There are no existing election rules on how to dispose of unspent campaign funds, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Tuesday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, however, emphasized these excess funds must be declared with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and its appropriate taxes should be paid.

"Unspent campaign donations: there are no rules requiring its disposition in any specific way... The only rule, that there is, can actually be found in revenue regulations issued by the BIR, which state very clearly that unspent campaign funds shall be treated as income and shall be subject to the payment of appropriate income tax,” he said.

Presidential candidate Isko Moreno Domagoso admitted in a recent televised interview that he still has some P50 million in excess campaign funds from his 2016 senatorial kitty.

Domagoso received P171 million from donors in 2016, making him the senatorial candidate with the most contributions received.

According to Jimenez, at the end of the day, the "disposition of these funds is between the candidate and the donor."

"It follows that there really is nothing wrong with hanging on to unspent campaign funds as long as you pay taxes on them. If I may just editorialize, ultimately the disposition of these funds is between the candidate and the donor. So if the donor sees nothing objectionable with that sort of use with the money that they gave, then that’s it," Jimenez added.

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