Miriam hits rivals over ad splurge
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago yesterday accused her presidential rivals of engaging in premature campaigning.

Santiago noted reports that four of the presidential candidates spent as much as P2.3 billion for campaign ads last year.

She vowed to call for a Senate probe on the ad splurge, which she said adds a sense of urgency for her colleagues to finally consider her proposed Anti-Premature Campaigning Act and the related CIRPO Act, requiring any person interested in running for public office to file a certificate of intention to run for public office six months before the deadline for filing of a certificate of candidacy (COC).

She also urged voters to treat as red flags for corruption the billions presidential candidates are spending for ads even before the campaign period.

“The question we must ask is this: how will these politicians recover the scandalous amounts they spend for their campaign? The simple answer is that they will steal from public funds, or will at least be tempted to do so,” Santiago said.

Although sidelined by lung cancer, Santiago did not let go unnoticed the ad splurge of her presidential rivals, adding that they might be forced to return favors to affluent campaign contributors once they are elected into office.

“An alternative would be to give favors to rich contributors, to the detriment of public interest,” Santiago said.

Santiago took to task four of her rivals in the 2016 presidential elections after they reportedly spent a total of P2.3 billion for television ads from January to December 2015.

Liberal Party candidate Manuel Roxas II was the top spender, shelling out P774 million, followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, P695 million; Sen. Grace Poe, P694 million, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, P129 million.

She noted that almost all candidates have spent beyond the expected limit for campaign expenses. By the standards set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), every presidential candidate may spend only P10 per voter, or a total of P545 million for the projected 54.5 million voters in 2016.

“A president’s salary is only P120,000 a month. He or she may thus expect to earn only P8.64 million for the six years that he or she is in office. These big spenders therefore cannot say that they will earn their money back if elected,” Santiago said.

ACIRC ANTI-PREMATURE CAMPAIGNING ACT DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE GRACE POE LIBERAL PARTY MANUEL ROXAS MILLION MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO QUOT SANTIAGO VICE PRESIDENT JEJOMAR BINAY
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