Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume III, Number 44 December 7 - 13, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
Cost of Taking Power
candidate who wins the presidency of the country stands to earn only P50,000 (or
$903, based on exchange rate of P55.36 per US dollar) monthly or P3.6 million
($65,028) for the entire six-year term. He or she, however, is allowed by law to
spend P189.5 million (or $3.4 million, independent) or P303.2 million (or $5.5
million, with political party).
DANILO ARAÑA ARAO
increase in kidnapping and bank robberies is not just blamed on the financial
pressures that go with the Christmas celebration, but also the electoral season.
Analysts say that running for office entails billions of pesos at one’s
disposal. Candidates and their supporters therefore need to raise funds in
whatever means possible.
a few are aware, however, that there is a limit to electoral spending. According
to Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7176 (An Act Providing for the Synchronized
National and Local Elections), independent candidates are allowed to spend P5
Those with political parties can spend P3 ($0.05, based on exchange rate of P55.36 per US dollar) per voter, and their political parties (including party-list groups), P5 ($0.09) per voter. This means that party candidates, with financial support from their political parties, can actually spend a total of P8 ($0.14) per voter.
movie actor Fernando Poe, Jr. finally decides to run for president as an
independent, he cannot go beyond the allowable campaign expenditure of P189.5
million ($3.4 million). Other presidential aspirants affiliated with a political
party, namely President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and former
Education Secretary Raul Roco, can spend up to P303.2 million ($5.5 million).
is ironic to think that the candidate who wins the presidency stands to earn
only P50,000 ($903) a month but is willing spend up to P189.5 million ($3.4
million) or P303.2 million ($5.5 million). Simple arithmetic shows that his or
her total gross income for the entire six-year term will only amount to P3.6
who are running for senator must also be prepared to shell out that amount,
since they are also campaigning nationwide.
the provincial level, a local candidate in Batanes has the lowest allowable
expenditure since the number of registered voters is only 8,198 as of July 2002.
This means that the campaign expenditure ceiling amounts to P40,990 (or $740,
independent) and P65,584 ($1,185, with political party).
a candidate for governor in Cebu has the highest allowable expenditure. He or
she can spend up to P8.5 million ($154,170 as independent) or P13.7 million
($246,672 as political party candidate) given the 1.7 million registered voters
in that province.
legal from actual
he ran in 1998, ousted President Joseph Estrada declared that he spent only
P118.5 million ($2.1 million), based on the campaign expenditure report he
submitted to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Of this amount, P116.4
million ($2.1 million) came from contributions.
to a 2001 study by IBON Foundation, however, Estrada “actually received more
than P2 billion ($36.1 million) in campaign contributions from big businessmen
(who later became his cronies), aside from the huge resources (manpower,
facilities, etc.) mobilized to promote his campaign.”
same study quoted former Cavite Governor Juanito Remulla as saying that he spent
P200 million ($3.6 million) to keep his post. Interestinly, Cavite’s
registered voters number 1,056,015 as of July 2002, which means that the
campaign expenditure ceiling should only be P5.3 million ($95,377 as
independent) and P8.4 million ($152,603 as political party candidate).
before, the COMELEC said that the submission of election-related expenses to its
office is now optional and is therefore not a prerequisite to taking one’s
oath of office.
therefore makes it much harder for concerned groups and individuals to monitor
actual expenditures when the 2004 national and local elections roll around.
Be that as it may, the campaign expenditure ceiling already points to the glaring fact that national elections are reduced to a game confined only to those with massive financial resources. Bulatlat.com