JV top campaign spender at P138 M

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - JV Ejercito was the biggest spender among the new senators, followed by Cynthia Villar, records of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) show.

Based on the Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) that he filed with the Comelec, San Juan congressman Ejercito spent P138,207,825.76 during the campaign for the senatorial race. He also declared to have received contributions amounting to P135,931,740.

Villar, on the other hand, spent P133,979,127.25 but P131,656,672.84 came from her personal funds.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano landed third by spending P131,044,782.3 during the campaign. He received contributions totaling P130,425,463.81.

The most frugal among the winning candidates was Sen. Gregorio Honasan, who declared expenditures of only P24,111,848.96 and contributions of P23,107,141.04.

Honasan was followed by fellow re-electionist Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who was ironically named in a Commission on Audit report as the biggest spender at the Senate in 2011.

Trillanes claimed in his SOCE that he only used P30,135,014.77 while the contributions that he got were only P29,580,000.

As of press time, only the SOCE of Ang Kapatiran Party’s Marwil Llasos has not reached the Comelec as he sent the document through registered mail.

According to Comelec-Law Department director Esmeralda Ladra, the poll body would be auditing every entry in the SOCEs to determine if any of the 33 senatorial bets spent more than the P156-million limit for campaign expenditures.

Ladra said that overspending is an election offense that is punishable by up to six years imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

But of the 33 candidates, only 15 were able to comply with the deadline set by Comelec in filing their SOCEs at 10 p.m. of June 13. The rest face administrative fines that will be determined by the poll body.

Ladra noted the Comelec is also reviewing the SOCEs filed in connection with the 2007 and 2010 elections to identify the non-filers among the candidates then.

Those who failed to submit their SOCEs in two elections also face cases of election offense.

“If you are second offenders, we may be filing motu proprio cases against you for perpetual disqualification based on the 2007 elections. Those who won in the 2013 elections, you won’t be able to assume office if you did not file your SOCEs,” Ladra warned.

Noy urged to disclose Team PNoy expenses

Poll watchdog Kontra Daya, meanwhile, asked President Aquino to disclose how much his office spent for Team PNoy candidates during the campaign for the May 13 elections.

Kontra Daya convenor Renato Reyes said the President should not be exempted from the requirement of the Comelec for candidates, contributors and media entities to declare campaign finances.

“It is assumed that when he (Aquino) attended sorties, he was using public funds. His transportation, security detail and other expenses were presumably paid for using public funds,” Reyes said.

He also noted that Aquino’s attendance in campaign sorties is “not necessarily connected with the functions of his office.”


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