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Bishop slams the big spenders

A PRELATE said Thursday those politicians spending billions for their election campaigns will recover their money and much more once they win in this year’s elections.

Former Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president and Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz made the statement in reaction to a recent study by Nielsen Philippines in which it said presidential aspirants Jejomar Binay, Grace Poe and Manuel Roxas II were the top spenders on political advertisements from January to November last year.

“That kind of spending means that at the end of the day, they will recover what they have spent from the people, and they may recover more than what they have spent through graft and corrupt practices once they win,” Cruz said.

Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz
He made his statement even as a political analyst said Liberal Party standard bearer Roxas’ image problem was the biggest factor why he still lagged in the pre-election surveys despite the big amounts of money he had been spending on political advertising.

“If people don’t like a candidate, it will not matter how much they spend in the campaign,” Ranjit Rye, a political analyst from the University of the Philippines, told ANC. 

In a report by the media research firm Nielsen Philippines, Binay emerged as the top spender for presidential candidates, with more than P595,713,000 for TV advertisements between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 last year.  

Senator Grace Poe came in second with P448,166,000, followed by administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II with P424,870,000, while Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte spent P115,423,000.

Duterte said his advertisements were paid for “by someone from the Chinese community.”  

Cruz said “goons, guns and gold” were rampant every election, and that money flowed from all over.

During the national and local elections in 2010, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reported that the candidates spent P4.3 billion on commercials and political advertisements.

On Tuesday, Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista said they were helpless in preventing political candidates from spending millions of pesos on political advertisements even before the start of the official campaign period.

He said there was no law against premature campaigning.

“For the record, there is no law right now that regulates spending because we know that the meters start running only at the beginning of the campaign period,” Bautista said.

“Any expenses before that period will not be counted against them and the Comelec cannot do anything.”

Topics: Bishop , Emeritus Oscar Cruz
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