MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third reading a measure proposing an increase in the spending limit of candidates and political parties for the election campaign.
With 213 affirmative votes, 6 negative votes, and one abstention, the chamber passed on final reading House Bill 6095, which seeks to increase the cap in campaign expenditure by amending Section 13 of Republic Act 7166, or the “Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act”.
Under the measure, the proposed authorized campaign expenses for presidential candidates are at PHP50 for every voter; while vice-presidential, senatorial, and other candidates are at PHP30 per voter.
For political parties, the proposed cap shall be at PHP50 for national candidates and PHP30 for local candidates.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec), in consultation with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Philippine Statistics Authority, will adjust the amount of authorized election campaign expenses every six years based on the inflation rate and consumer price index.
Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal, the author of the bill, said increasing the authorized campaign expenditures to a more realistic level is necessary to make more accurate, truthful, and appropriate the statement of contributions and expenditures that candidates and political parties would submit to the Comelec.
“The loud and growing clamor to adjust the poll spending cap did not only come from the candidates, political parties, and Comelec but from international election observers,” Oaminal said.
He cited a report from the pro-democracy non-government organization Carter Center, showing that “all mission interlocutors agree that the spending limits imposed on election campaigns are unrealistically low and that candidates are in effect forced to file false declarations of expenses as a result.” (PNA)