ELECTION SPENDING | Comelec reminds candidates to stay within election spending limits

2 months ago

FEBRUARY 12, 2019 — The Commission on Elections reminds candidates to be mindful of their campaign expenses, as the campaign period for national candidates officially kick off today.

Starting today, Comelec will begin monitoring the candidates’ election spending for the midterm elections in May.

Candidates with a political party are only allowed to spend three pesos per registered voter in the constituency where they filed their candidacy for a total of P183 million for the 61 million registered voters.

Meanwhile, political parties, party-list groups, and independents are only allowed to spend five pesos per registered voter in the constituency where they filed their candidacy for a total of P305 million for the 61 million registered voters.

According to Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, the resolution on authorized expenses puts a cap on the maximum amount that can be spent.

“Hindi naman per voter ang singilan mo diyan, yun lang yung kabuuan. Remember you’re not actually spending for 3 pesos per citizen because if you were then you wouldn’t afford anything else. Meron din spending for not an individual voter but will benefit many voters, its only for the purpose of calculating the maximum,” said Jimenez.

The spending limit includes items such as posters or banners, souvenirs or giveaway items, transportation, and media advertisements.

“Ang social media spending kasi matagal na ginagawa since 2013 pero hindi nire-report ang spending sa social media. 2016 naging urgent ang problema kasi natuto ang mga kandidato paano gamitin ang social media so sinimulan natin i-regulate,” said Jimenez.

The Comelec also highlights that the computation for campaign spending includes donations, and that all donations that were not spent in the campaign must be declared to the Bureau of Internal Revenue to be taxed.

“Wala tayong limit sa pagtanggap ng donations, ang problema may limit sa paggastos ng pera kaya nagiging problema yan may past situations tanggap nang tanggap tapos natatago so kumikita sila sa campaign. Meron ngayong rule ang BIR kung saan ang perang kinalap sa campaign pero hindi ginastos ay taxable, so pwedeng itabi ang hindi naubos pero may buwis, taxable,” said Jimenez.

The deadline for submission of Statement of Contributions and Expenditures is on June 12. Candidates found overspending may face charges and may even be disqualified.