Comelec eyes reform in electoral campaign spending | Inquirer News
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Comelec eyes reform in electoral campaign spending

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections is planning to introduce reforms to system of election campaign spending in the country by creating an office that will monitor and scrutinize candidates’ expenditures and  contributions to their campaigns.

The Comelec has even invited an official of the US Federal Election Commission (FEC) to help show the way.

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Election Commissioner Robert Lim said the planned “campaign finance department” would begin scrutinizing statements of campaign contributions and expenditures of candidates in the 2013 midterm elections.

“As of now, the capability of the Comelec is limited to determining whether the candidates have filed their statement of contribution and expenditures. We want to expand [that] to authenticating the contents of their statements,” Lim told a press briefing.

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He noted that the Comelec law department, which is the unit tasked with scrutinizing these statements, is overburdened with election cases.

“It’s the law department that takes these statements and conducts the investigation. But during elections, the department is overwhelmed with work not only with this aspect, but also with election offenses, authentication and other functions,” Lim said.

He said what the poll body needed was a department that specialized in campaign finance, particularly audit, “to make sure the expenditures are not understated.”

He said a bill has been filed in Congress calling for the creation of a permanent department on campaign finance in the Comelec.

To help the Comelec catch erring candidates, Commissioner Ellen Weintraub of the US Federal Election Commission recently conducted a workshop with Comelec officials.

“She’s here to help and share her knowldge in enforcing campaign finance in the US. We hope we can learn from her so we can also enforce campaign finance in the Philippines,” Lim said.

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TAGS: campaign spending, Comelec, Commission on Elections, election spending, Elections, News, Politics
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