FORMER Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Tuesday he is seeking to increase the allowed campaign expenditures of candidates and political parties to realistic amounts “to accurately reflect” the cost of goods and services.
Belmonte, vice chairman of the Liberal Party, filed House Bill 15 following the failure of the LP and presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II to submit on time their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures in the last national elections.
“With these amendments in place, the law will accurately reflect the current economic landscape and allow candidates to pay the full and fair price of the goods and services they wish to engage,” Belmonte said, adding that his proposal seeks to amend Section 13 of Republic Act 7166.
Belmonte said the amendments would also allow candidates to maximize their resources to effectively communicate their platforms and ideas to a greater number of their constituents, which could translate into a voting public that was more active, intelligent, and aware.
Belmonte noted in his bill that the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines allows candidates to spend an aggregate amount not exceeding P1.50 for every voter registered in the constituency where he filed his candidacy.
He said RA 7166 was enacted in 1991, amending the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code and increased the allowed expenditures for candidates and political parties.
“Candidates are allowed to spend P3.00 for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his Certificate of Candidacy, and candidates without any political party, and without support from any political party, are allowed to spend P5.00 for every such voter,” Belmonte said.
The candidates for president and vice president are allowed a larger sum of P10.00, while political parties are allowed P5.00 for every voter currently registered in the constituency or constituencies where they have official candidates.
“Twenty-five years later, these figures have yet to be updated to reflect inflation and the eroded purchasing power of the Philippine peso,” Belmonte said.
“The limitations also hinder candidates from launching campaigns that could reach even the most remote of places in the country for fear of running afoul of the law.”
Under the measure, all candidates would be authorized to spend P50.00 and P30.00 for political parties for every voter currently registered in the constituency or constituencies where they have official candidates.