Liberal Party seeks curbs in campaign spending
By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
NAGA CITY—Apparently reeling from what one of them called “the most expensive election campaign” yet, senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party (LP) Tuesday vowed to amend election laws to effectively regulate campaign spending, should they make it to the upper chamber.
Candidate Franklin Drilon, a former Senate president, said current election laws should be changed “to cover loopholes that are being gravely abused by rich candidates with limitless campaign resources.”
“I have been involved in seven national elections and this year’s campaign is the most expensive I have ever witnessed,” said Drilon in a statement.
He pointed out that television, radio and print ads featuring candidates were not considered part of their campaign as long as they were made before the start of the official campaign period.
“Hence, rich candidates can spend as much money as they like in pre-campaign period infomercials and advertisements to achieve better media exposure, at the expense of candidates with very little resources,” said Drilon.
What was worse, he said, public officials with an eye to running could use the pre-campaign period to promote themselves using government funds, a possible graft violation.
He said an infomercial featuring a government official who later files a certificate of candidacy could lead to “a conclusive presumption … that such official intended to use the infomercial to serve his own needs, and he may thus be liable for graft charges.”