Press Release
October 19, 2016

Pimentel seeks increase in candidates' campaign cap

Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III seeks to increase the cap in the campaign expenditures of candidates and political parties during elections that remained the same in the last 25 years.

He filed Senate Bill No. 1178 recently to amend Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7166, or "An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and for Other Purposes."

When approved into law, candidates with political parties would be entitled to P20 from P10 for president; P15 from P10 for vice-president; P10 from P3 for a representative; P10 from P3 for governor and mayor; P8 from P3 for vice-governor and vice-mayor; and P5 from P3 for municipal, city and provincial councils.

The president of the administration party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) said the higher amounts pegged in the proposed measure are "per voter" in the constituency of the candidate.

It would be P20 from P5 for a political party and P10 from P5 for candidates without political parties.

He said candidates had difficulty in trying to limit their spending in accordance with law because the costs of materials, printing and reproduction, media ads, transportation, and other operational expenses have noticeably increased in the past two decades.

Pimentel cited a report of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which showed a 259.5 percent increase in prices of commodities from 1991 to the 2015 national and local elections.

"The value of P1.00 in 1991 is now equivalent to P3.60," he said, referring to records of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

The NEDA, he said, is projecting that the P3.0 used for election-related spending in 1991 would be valued at P9.10 this year.

"These amounts show that the allowable limits for campaign spending are really outdated, most especially for local candidates who cannot take advantage of the economies of scale in their purchase of materials, printing requirements, and even mass media placements," Pimentel said.

He said overspending cases filed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against 35 local candidates for the 2010 and 2013 elections proved that candidates were struggling to spend within the allowable amounts provided by law.

"The best way to address the concerns of our candidates, especially the local candidates, therefore, is to increase the amount of their allowable political campaign expenditures," said Pimentel.

Political parties, however, should not be forgotten, he said, adding political parties are allowed to spend only P5 per currently registered voter to help their candidates in constituencies where they field candidates.

Pimentel said local candidates should be aware of the importance of political parties, encouraging them to tap the assistance of their political parties for their campaign spending limit.

"This measure is in line with the proposed policy to institute reforms in the Philippine political parties to resolve issues of campaign spending, among others, to attain a mature and stable democracy," he said.

Pimentel said it would be beneficial to the voting public "since the increase in the allowable campaign expenditure may lead to better voter's education and awareness of the background and program of government of the candidates."

However, he said the campaign cap of candidates for barangay posts should remain at P3 since barangay elections are non-partisan, and hence, should be less "bloody" than the other elections.

He also wanted to substitute the term "gift tax" with "donor" tax which he added "is the proper term used in the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended."

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