P30 per voter? Senate panel OKs campaign expenditure hike for local, national candidates

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2019 07:22 PM

MANILA - The cap on election campaign budgets should be increased by at least 100 percent to reflect the current prices of commodities, Senator Imee Marcos said Tuesday, as she prepared to present a committee report recommending the expenditure hike for aspiring politicians.

Under campaign laws, presidential and vice presidential bets are allowed to spend P10 per voter, while other candidates may disburse P3 per voter registered in the vicinity where he or she filed his certificate of candidacy. Political parties are also allowed to release P5 for every voter registered in areas where it is fielding candidates.

Under the proposal of the Senate committees on Ways and Means, and Electoral Reform and People's Participation, the authorized campaign expenses of candidates will be:

  • presidential and vice presidential candidate - P50 per voter (from P10)
  • national, local candidates - P20 per voter registered in area where certificate of candidacy was filed (from P3)
  • candidates without political parties - additional P30 per voter (from P5)
  • political parties - P30 per voter in areas where it has a candidate (from P5)

"Talagang dinadala lang natin ang presyo para sa kampaniya doon sa tunay na presyo ng pagkain, ng pamasahe at iba pa," Senate Electoral Reform and People's Participation committee chair Marcos told ABS-CBN News.

Marcos noted that inflation has increased by nearly 300 percent since the policy on election campaign expenditure was passed in 1991.

"Labis na talaga ang itinaas so bakit hindi din tinataasan ito?" the senator said, noting that the proposed rate adjusments would translate to a more "realistic" Statement of Campaign Expenditures (SOCE).

"Parang nagiging fiction writing na yung SOCE. Hindi na daw makatotohanan so eto, magpakatotoo tayo kung ano talaga," she said.

About 11 of the 19 members of the 2 committees endorsed the passage of the bill.

If approved, presidential and vice presidential candidates could spend up to P5 billion for campaign ads and sorties nationwide, assuming that it is computed based on 63 million voters, the latest number of Filipinos who registered for the recent 2019 polls.

Marcos belied that the proposal would further alienate political aspirants from the marginalized sector.

"Hindi natin tinataasan ang mga requirement para maging opisyal. Hindi naman natin sinasara ang pinto sa mga mahihirap. Wala namang ganun. Sinasabi lang natin ano talaga ang nangyayari," she said.

The Senate panel also pushed to remove the imposition of a donor's tax to campaign contributions.

"Sana 'yung mga donations, matanggal talaga ang donor's tax... para libreng-libre 'yung mga gusto magsuporta. Kahit crowdsourcing bakit hindi? Basta donasyon," she said.

The committee report favoring the hike is set to be tackled on the Senate plenary this week.