Comelec prefers varying campaign spending limits depending on location
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Wednesday it prefers varying spending limits for election campaigns based on locations.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that while the latest recommendation in Congress to increase the spending limit per voter to P50 would be an improvement from the current P3, the Comelec still prefers a “moving scale” of campaign spending cap depending on locations.
“While that would be an improvement on the P3 per voter, the Comelec actually favors a moving scale depending on the location, so the spending limit would be different in Metro Manila versus say, a small town somewhere in the Visayas, somewhere in Mindanao, or somewhere else in Luzon,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
Jimenez clarified that the value of money differs, depending on the location.
“In an island municipality, you might be able to get services for P10,000 that you cannot get in Metro Manila. So what the Comelec really advocates is a sort of moving scale of campaign spending limits to make it even more rational based on the spending power of the peso in specific locations,” he explained.
However, Jimenez acknowledged that adopting this system would be “very complicated” for candidates running for national positions.
While the Comelec sees this system as an “ideal situation,” he also noted that Congress seems to prefer a flat rate for the spending limit.
He added that in general, the Comelec agrees to increase the candidates’ spending limit per voter as previously expressed by the agency.
“The Comelec, as a matter of official position, naturally approves of the idea of increasing the spending limits. We recognize the P3 per voter is incredibly low. You cannot even buy a pen for P3 nowadays. So it predisposes people to violate the campaign spending limits,” Jimenez said.
“As far as spending limits are concerned, the Comelec has in the past signified its support for moves like that. Whether or not these moves will bear fruit in time for 2022, that is a matter for us to see,” he added.
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