Santiago seeks probe into high spending of rivals on pol ads
PRESIDENTIAL candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor- Santiago on Wednesday sought an investigation on her rivals’ alleged high spending on election advertisements.
In a statement, Santiago wondered how the other presidential aspirants’ election ads reached “scandalous amounts” beyond their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.
“They spent at least five times the net worth they have declared for ads. One candidate even spent by 17 times his net worth. Where did they get the money? If the public is to speculate, they would think that these candidates have either stolen from public funds or peddled their influence,” the senator said.
She was reacting to the report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism that four of the five presidentiables have collectively spent P3.2 billion worth of ads from Jan. 2015 to Jan. 2016, or before the campaign launch last Feb. 9.
“Almost all of these candidates are incumbent public officials, and have access to government funds. They are also prohibited by law from receiving gifts ‘if the value of the gift is under the circumstances manifestly excessive,” Santiago said.
Based on the report, Vice President Jejomar Binay was the biggest ad spender with P1.05 billion, or 17.4 times his net worth of P60.2 million in 2014.
The next biggest spender was Sen. Grace Poe, with P1.016 billion on ads despite a net worth of only P89.5 million; Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas, who spent P969 million but with a net worth of only P202 million; and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who spent P146 million despite a net worth of P21.97 million.
Santiago, who has a net worth of around P73 million, remained “in surplus spending status” according to the PCIJ report.
The senator said the public deserves to know who pays for their campaign “so that when a campaign contributor enjoys benefits to the detriment of the public under the official’s watch, the people would know who to hold accountable.”
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