SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has filed a bill increasing the budget bracket of campaign expenses of candidates for future national and local elections.
Under Senate Bill 1178, Koko said spending limits for candidates, as set by the Omnibus Election Code, should be raised to make it more realistic and responsive to the dynamics of the changing times.
Pimentel said the proposed measure increases the “authorized aggregates” amount for the campaign expenditure of candidates and political parties for every voter currently registered.
He explained that for more than two decades, the amount limiting the expenses of candidates and political parties remained the same.
However, in a study conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, there was 259.5-percent increase in the prices of commodities from 1991 to 2015, making it difficult for politicians in trying to limit their spending in accordance with the law.
“The value of P1.00 in 1991 is now equivalent to P3.60. Also the National Economic and Development Authority [Neda] projected the P3.00 used for elections-related spending in 1991 is equivalent to P9.10 in 2016,” Pimentel said in his explanatory note.
Under the measure, the campaign budget cap will be increased from P10 per registered voter to P20 if the candidate is gunning for the presidency.
The limit for vice presidential bets will increase from P10.00 to P15.00 while those seeking the district congressional seats as well as those running in the mayoral and gubernatorial post will have a P7.00 increase from the present P3.00 to P10.00.
Those running for vice-mayoral and vice-gubernatorial post will have a P5.00 increase from P3.00 to P8.00.
Meanwhile, Pimentel said the expenditure bracket for those seeking a Senate seat or a party-list congressional seat will remain the same at P3.00 as at least 12 seats are available in the Senate every election, and the chances for winning a multiple-seat position are higher than a single-seat.
Party-list candidates are included in the exception, as they are also elected nationally and have even more seats available.
In addition, the proposal also allows each political party to spend a maximum of P20.00 per registered voter while candidates without support from any political party may spend up to P10.00.
Pimentel said the present amount on the allowable limits for campaign spending “are really outdated” especially for local candidates who cannot take advantage of “economies of scale” in their purchase of materials, printing requirements as well as mass media placements.
The Senate leader is an advocate of electoral reform in the country and is the author of RA 103669, the law which ensures persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens can vote by making electoral processes more accessible to them.