MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Two women candidates who sought the two highest positions in government also spent the most in the 2016 campaign, based on expenses reports that they and their rivals filed with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Out of 62 candidates for national positions – president, vice president, senator – at least 44 beat the Comelec deadline and filed their statements of contributions and expenses (SOCE) on Wednesday, June 8.
They included 4 candidates for president, all 6 for vice president, and at least 34 for senator. The poll body even extended the original 5 pm deadline to 6:30 pm to accommodate more submissions.
Senator Grace Poe was the top spender and top recipient of contributions so far in the 2016 presidential campaign. She reported P510,845,262.56 in poll expenditures and P511,950,000 in campaign contributions.
Vice President Jejomar Binay was second, spending P463,375,216.37 out of the P463,453,000 he received from contributors.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was the 3rd top spender, using P371,461,480.23 out of the P375,009,474.90 in contributions that he received.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, the first to file among the 6 presidential candidates, had the lowest poll expenses and contributions. She spent P74,652,689.87 and received the same amount during the campaign period.
As of Wednesday night, Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and the camp of the late representative Roy Señeres Sr have yet to officially submit their SOCEs, said lawyer Mazna Vergara of the Comelec Campaign Finance Office.
On Thursday, June 9, Roxas' campaign spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said that his camp requested the Comelec for a 14-day extension to complete the filing of SOCEs for Roxas and the LP.
"The primary reason is the voluminous number of receipts that have to be scanned and attached to the document, in compliance with the rules and in the interest of complete transparency," he said.
Señeres withdrew from the election a few days before he died in May, but it was too late for the Comelec to remove his name from the ballots.
Robredo received the most contributions and spent the most in the vice presidential campaign. She reported a total of P418,664,130.60 in poll expenses, against P423,163,737.34 in contributions.
Senator Francis Escudero is in second place, spending P321,014,827.64 out of the P322,567,073.60 he received from contributors.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is 3rd, with P189,129,872.48 in expenditures and P188,930,000.00 in contributions.
Ranking 4th is Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who spent P140,539,366.34 and received P130,707,735 in contributions.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the first to submit SOCE documents among the 6, reported P61,896,067.36 in campaign expenses and P61,159,497.87 in contributions.
The lowest spender among all VP bets was Senator Gregorio Honasan II, who spent only P26,259,899.20 and received P25,963,450.00 from poll contributors.
The law requires winning and losing candidates to submit within 30 days after the polls a list of contributions received and expenses incurred during the campaign period.
Presidential and vice presidential bets can spend P10 per registered voter. Independent bets for all positions are allowed to spend P5 per voter in their respective constituencies.
Candidates for senator and other positions have a P3 spending cap per voter in their respective constituencies.
For the 2016 election campaign, presidential and VP bets belonging to political parties can spend up to P557.4 million. (READ: 2016 elections: How much can a presidential candidate spend?)
Eleven senators-elect submitted their SOCEs on time. They were, in order of submission: Panfilo Lacson, Ralph Recto, Manny Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian, Vicente Sotto III, Leila de Lima, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, and Francis Pangilinan.
A total of 23 losing Senate bets had also complied by Wednesday, as of this posting.
Not yet in as of this posting is the SOCEs of senator-elect Franklin Drilon, who ran under the Liberal Party banner.
So far, the top spender among those who have submitted is 13th placer Francis Tolentino, who reported P199,146,623.72 in campaign expenditures.
Meanwhile, Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, another losing candidate, received the most contributions, with P171,000,000.00.
Political parties and party-list organizations are also required to submit SOCE forms. Only the People’s Reform Party (PRP) and 85 out of 115 party lists have complied so far.
In a chance interview, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said that winning bets cannot assume office until they submit their SOCEs with the poll body. This is according to Rule 10, Section 5 of Comelec Resolution 9991.
The resolution also imposes administrative fines on late filers and those who will fail to submit their SOCEs. Repeated non-compliance can lead to perpetual disqualification of a candidate from public office.
The Comelec will also review the veracity of the contents of submitted SOCEs, said Bautista. – Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.