Bill proposes to raise poll spending cap
MANILA, Philippines–As the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cracks down on election overspending, a lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to triple the maximum amount a presidential candidate can spend in a poll campaign.
Camarines Sur Rep. Salvio B. Fortuno said it was time to adjust the Comelec’s campaign spending rules because the peso is currently worth less than a third of its value in 1991 when the maximum election spending limits were set based on a computation by Romulo Emmanuel Miral, Jr., acting director of the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department.
Fortuno proposed to adjust the spending of candidates for president and vice-president from P10.00 to P34.10 per voter, for other candidates from P3.00 to P10.23 per voter and for political parties from P5.00 to P17.05 per voter.
“Considering the time and economic factors, there is need to increase this actual computation to meet the demands of the time when this proposed legislative measure is enacted into law,” Fortuno said.
Fortuno’s House Bill 5241 or “An Act increasing the authorized expenses of candidates and political parties, amending for the purpose Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7166, entitled, ‘An Act providing for synchronized national and local elections and for electoral reforms, authorizing appropriations therefor, and for other purposes’” has been referred to the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms.
Under R.A. 7166, a candidate is authorized to spend only three pesos for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his certificate of candidacy.
“The paramount objective of this proposed statute is to make the authorized campaign expenditures for all the candidates and political parties more realistic so that no candidate would ever be penalized on the basis of an antiquated law,” Fortuno said.
Fortuno was referring to the disqualification of Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito for exceeding the campaign spending limits in the 2013 elections which was upheld by the Supreme court last month.
He noted that the Supreme Court upheld the Comelec decision disqualifying Ejercito on the basis of the existing law.