June 7, 2023

The regulation of campaign finance by imposing a maximum limit on campaign expenditures is not a new measure. It has been in place since the Batasang Pambansa or the National Assembly enacted Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 in 1985, antedating even the 1987 Constitution.
Sections 100 and 101 of the Omnibus Election Code provided the limitations of expenses of candidates and political parties at P1.50 for every registered voter.
The expense is in cash or in kind, including the use, rental or hire of land, water or aircraft, equipment, facilities, apparatus, and paraphernalia used in the campaign.
The Commission on Elections may assess the amount commensurate with the expenses which shall be included in the total expenses incurred by a candidate. Expenses incurred by branches, chapters, or committees of such political party shall be included in the computation of the total expenditures of a political party.
The allowable amount of P1.50 per voter was increased through the enactment of Republic Act 9166 or the law that provided for synchronized national and local local elections and electoral reforms in 1991.
For candidates for president and vice president, P10 per voter and although not mentioned, including senators. For other candidates, P3 per voter.
If a candidate is without a political party and without support from any political party, P5 per voter, and same for political parties in areas where it has official candidates.
Contribution in cash or in kind to any candidate or political party or coalition of parties for campaign purposes must be reported to Comelec but thankfully not subject to a gift tax. After elections, win or lose, a candidate files a statement of campaign expenses. Otherwise, the candidate shall pay a fine or worst, banned perpetually from running for office again.
So, are they following the law? Tell that to the Marines!
Whoever says he stuck the limitation must be a reincarnation of Pinocchio whose nose grows longer as the campaign goes.
Watching media veteran Malou Mangahas interview PR experts Reli German and his son, a formula, practical for Baguio and other areas may be considered. Baguio now has 168,218 registered voters.
Following strictly local candidate expenses at P3 should total P504,00 covering campaigners’ fees, gasoline, meals, tarps, etc.
My take, find a “local magic number which is the number of votes the councilor who landed in 12th place obtained x P50 (my estimate). So, 32,158 x P50 = P1,607,900.
According to the experts, when one files his certificate of candidacy, the X amount should have been available “money-in-your-pocket” thus the term “Holster money.”
Of course, the amount for one-on-one positions of vice mayor, mayor, and congressman increases to P500 or so.
At a national scale, even at P500, the local magic number is more than P17M, which was the votes cast for President Rodrigo Duterte. My calculator says P1.44517 whatever it means but I am making a wild guess of billions.
So, there you go, the high cost to run a campaign for a position one is not certain to win and if one wins, for a job whose compensation would not return what was spent, unless.
Of course, wala pa dyan ‘yung cost for vote-buying, Smartmatic and election fraud, private armies, terrorist, at iba pa.
In this country, we always have clean, orderly, and honest elections.

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