Isko says add'l rules on handling of excess campaign funds needed

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2022 01:57 PM

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MANILA - Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Friday said the Philippines may need additional guidelines on how candidates should handle excess campaign funds after the election season.

Moreno had a total of P171 million in campaign contributions in his failed 2016 Senate bid, according to his 2016 Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures.

He spent some P120.19 million during the campaign period, leaving a balance of P50.80 million in his coffers.

"In the future, dapat magtatag tayo ng mga alituntunin na magiging gabay ng lahat ng mga magiging kandidato," Domagoso said during the "Panata sa Bayan: The KBP Presidential Candidates Forum."

(In the future, we should have more guidelines to guide all our future candidates.)

The Commission on Elections admitted last seek that there are no existing rules on how to dispose of unspent campaign funds, expect that these 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,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said last Jan. 25.

Domagoso said he consulted the BIR on what to do with his excess 2016 campaign funds.

"At the time, ang naisip ko ay gampanan ko ang tungkulin ko bilang mamamayan na nagbabayad ng buwis," he said.

(At that time, what I thought of doing was to fulfill my duty as a citizen to pay my taxes.)

Domagoso maintained there was nothing illegal in keeping his excess campaign funds, adding that he paid some P9.7 million in taxes for keeping the money.

"Baka unique sa paningin ninyo dahil wala pa yatang kandidato na nagpubliko ng kaniyang sobra at nagbayad ng kaniyang buwis," he said.

(It might be unique to you because no other candidate publicized their excess campaign funds and the amount of tax they paid for it.)

The Manila Mayor - a former garbage collector and actor - had said that his latest net worth was pegged at P70 million.