Binay: P1-B pre-campaign spending a ‘non-issue’

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday, March 11,  shrugged off as a "non-issue" his P1-billion pre-campaign advertisement spending.

Hindi naman issue ‘yan. May limit 'yan kung hanggang saan ka makakagastos. Hindi naman ito issue ng malaki o maliit na nagastos. ‘Yung gastos, issue 'yan pagkatapos ng halalan,” said the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer during a sortie in Rosario, Pangasinan on Friday.

(That’s a non-issue. There’s a limit on how much you can spend. This isn’t an issue whether the amount you spent is big or small. The spending will be an issue after elections.)

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) reported that Binay spent P1,050,065,096 for his own television, radio, and print ads from March 2015 to January 2016. (READ: How did Binay fund his 2010 campaign?)

Binay's United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) also paid P64,607,324 for ads promoting Binay and his tandem with Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II. His running mate also reportedly spent P29,673, 341 in pre-campaign ads.

Other presidential candidates have paid huge amounts as well – Senator Grace Poe at P1.02 billion, Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II at P969.2 million, and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at P146.4 million. (READ: Billions of pesos spent on 'pre-campaign' ads)

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the only presidential bet who did not spend on pre-campaign ads, has called for a lifestyle check on presidential candidates, given the ad spendings which exceeded their declared net worth.

Compliance with election rules

The Omnibus Election Code only prohibits candidates from overspending during the campaign period. The Commission on Elections (Comelec), therefore, did not monitor ad spending before February 9, the start of the official campaign period. 

According to Binay, UNA candidates will comply with the spending cap set by the Comelec .

Kami, sine-share pa namin sa inyo [na] susunod kami within the limits, 'yun ang igagastos namin (We even share with you that we will follow the limit. We are going to spend money within the limit),” said Binay, who statistically ties with Poe in the latest ABS-CBN-commissioned Pulse Asia survey.

Binay added, however, that he will only disclose who his campaign donors are after the May polls. 

Pagdating ng oras. Hindi pa naman panahon ito. Pagkatapos ng halalan, there is a requirement for a candidate to report 'yung donations (When the time comes. After the elections, there is a requirement for a candidate to report his campaign donations),” he said.

UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan previously said the Vice President would  reveal where they leased the planes and helicopters  used during the campaign period through his Statement of Contributions and Expenditures to be submitted after the elections.

After Pangasinan, Binay, Honasan, and their senatorial candidates are set to visit Agoo, Tubao, Pugo, Aringay, Caba, Bauang, and Naguillian in La Union on Friday. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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