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Roxas, not Binay is leading spender for poll ads, says VP’s camp

Roxas shelled out P774.192 million for TV ads from January to December last year, according to Joey Salgado, head of media affairs of the Office of the Vice President. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel Roxas II is the leading spender for political advertisements among top presidential bets based on a 2015 report by media research firm Nielsen Philippines, a spokesman for Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday.

Roxas shelled out P774.192 million for TV ads from January to December last year, according to Joey Salgado, head of media affairs of the Office of the Vice President.

Binay came in second with P695.555 million, followed by Sen. Grace Poe with P694.603 million and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with P129.599 million.

Salgado said the data came from Nielsen Philippines.

Salgado said the report, which came out in The STAR yesterday, saying Binay was the biggest TV ad spender did not include the placements with entries “Mar Roxas for president” and “Mar Roxas school alumni.”

“If you include these entries, Roxas would still emerged as the biggest ad spender even in November,” he said.

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Binay has regained the lead in the 2016 presidential race based on the latest surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia.

In an interview in Pampanga yesterday, Binay insisted that he is not the top TV ad spender.

“There is another candidate who spent more (on TV ads) than me,” the Vice President said.

The LP-led Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid maintained that Binay had the highest pre-campaign expenses in 2015.

“The official campaign period has yet to start and yet Binay already spent P600 million for TV ads alone. It did not include other campaign expenses such as posters and tarpaulins,” Akbabayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, spokesman for the coalition, said.  “I think the question that he should respond to is where did the amount come from?”

Binay said the money used to pay for his TV and radio ads came from his friends.  

Duterte’s running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, expressed belief that his political advertising spending that reached P398.288 million in 2015 was way beyond what was actually spent for his campaign.

“I believe that the amounts reported are overstated because Nielsen itself admitted that these are based on published rate cards, which in all cases are more than what was actually paid for,” he said.

Based on the report, Cayetano was the biggest TV ad spender among vice presidential aspirants, followed by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with P103.429 million; Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, P91.602 million, and Binay’s running mate Sen. Gregorio Honasan, P43.580 million.

Meanwhile, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista said their hands are tied as they cannot go yet after candidates with huge spending for political advertisements.

“For the record, there is no law that regulates spending because we know that the meters start running only at the beginning of the campaign period, which is on Feb. 9,” Bautista said.

He issued the statement after a report showed that the top four presidential candidates spent almost P1.6 billion on television ads last year.

Noting that the law on campaign spending has “loopholes,” Bautista said the Comelec could not regulate the candidates’ poll expenses before the start of the campaign period. 

“We cannot monitor (TV ads) because based on the law, campaign expenditures only kicks in at the start of the campaign,” he said.

Bautista urged voters to be discerning in choosing their candidates.

“If they think the candidates are spending too much, they should decide,” he said. – With Christina Mendez, Sheila Crisostomo, Alexis Romero


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