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The Commission on Elections has created a campaign finance unit to monitor the campaign contributions and expenses of the candidates for the May 13 mid-term elections.
“Our new implementing rules will sharpen the teeth of our existing campaign finance laws to ensure that everything is counted to the last cent,” Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said.
Brillantes on Wednesday said his agency would be strictly monitoring the political campaigns on the Internet ahead of the May elections.
“We overhauled our rules on campaign and election propaganda,” he said.
“One significant feature is that we will be monitoring online election propaganda.”
Senator Francis Escudero on Thursday welcomed the Comelec ruling shortening the airtime a political candidate may buy for campaign ads would level the playing field for all candidates.
“Those who have deep resources will no longer lord it over the airwaves and leave those who have meager resources way, way behind,” Escudero said.
“At least no single candidate can put one over the other in terms of airtime. It’s a fair game for everyone.”
Brillantes said the Comelec’s law department had been designated as the campaign finance unit while some personnel from the Commission on Audit, Interior Department, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Anti-Money Laundering Council and the National Police would be monitoring the candidates’ campaign finances.
He said the Comelec had somewhat been relaxed in monitoring the campaign spending in previous elections, but it would now be stricter.
A comelec resolution requires candidates to file their statement of contributions and expenses within 30 days after the elections, and whether they win or lose.
Another resolution says failure to file a statement of expenditures and contributions will prevent a candidates from assuming office if he is elected. And the failure to submit the document will constitute an administrative offense that is punishable by a fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000.
Senatorial, congressional and local candidates registered under a political party are only authorized to spend P3 on every voter. Independent candidates without any support from any political party are only authorized to spend P5 on every registered voter.
Political parties and party-list groups may only spend P5 on every voter in their constituencies.
The statement of contributions and expenses serves as a basis for the Comelec to determine whether a candidate or a party exceeded the spending limit.
Candidates for national positions are allowed not more than 120 minutes of TV ads and 180 minutes of radio ads, while local candidates are limited to 60 minutes (TV) and 90 minutes (radio).
Brillantes said in case of joint ads or multiple candidates in one advertisement, those would be “charged to the airtime of each candidate so appearing.”
The maximum size of the print ads each candidate or political party is allowed is a quarter page in broadsheets and one-half in tabloids. The ads should not be published more than three times a week per newspaper, magazine, or other publication. With Macon R.-Araneta
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Go here to see the original: Comelec focuses on campaign spending – Manila Standard Today