Bid to hike poll spending: P30 to P50 per voter proposed
MANILA, Philippines–Proposals to increase the amount candidates or political parties spend per voter have spawned amounts ranging from 20 to 50 pesos.
The current ceiling is P3 per voter for candidates belonging to a party or P5 for independent candidates.
Gregorio Larrazabal, former election commissioner, said on Tuesday, Oct. 8, that P20 would be “too low.”
He said it should at least be P50 per voter for candidates for local positions.
Testifying at a hearing of two Senate committees—electoral reforms and ways and means—Larrazabal said P20 per voter for a local candidate won’t be enough.
Larrazabal, answering a question from Sen. Imee Marcos, said candidates for national positions should be allowed to spend more than those for local positions.
Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, of the Commission on Elections, said independent candidates should be allowed to spend more than those belonging to a political party.
Independent candidates, Guanzon said, “don’t have resources, don’t have the people, the vehicles.”
She said independent candidates should be allowed to spend P30 per voter and those in political parties, P20 per voter.
Political parties may be allowed to spend an additional P10 per voter for independent candidates to “even the imbalance.”
Eric Jude Alvia, of National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections, supported Larrazabal and Guanzon but warned that raising the ceiling for candidate spending could have unwanted effects.
He said while doing so would lead to a “competitive election environment”, it could also be used to an advantage by candidates who have bigger access to resources than those who have none.
One adverse effect, Alvia said, could be an increase in cases of vote-buying./TSB
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