Tuesday, May 17, 2016

SOCE Regulatory Measure: Expenditure Limit


The regulation of campaign finance by imposing a maximum limit on campaign expenditures is not a new measure. It has been in place since the Batasang Pambansa or the National Assembly enacted Batas Pambansa Bilang 8813 in 1985, antedating even the 1987 Constitution. Sections 100 and 101 of the Omnibus Election Code ("OEC") state:
"Sec. 100. Limitations upon expenses of candidates. - No candidate shall spend for his election campaign an aggregate amount exceeding one peso and fifty centavos (PhP 1.50) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his candidacy: Provided, That the expenses herein referred to shall include those incurred or caused to be incurred by the candidate, whether in cash or in kind, including the use, rental or hire of land, water or aircraft, equipment, facilities, apparatus and paraphernalia used in the campaign: Provided, further, That where the land, water or aircraft, equipment, facilities, apparatus and paraphernalia used is owned by the candidate, his contributor or supporter, the Commission is hereby empowered to assess the amount commensurate with the expenses for the use thereof, based on the prevailing rates in the locality and shall be included in the total expenses incurred by the candidate.
Sec. 101. Limitations upon expenses of political parties. - A duly accredited political party may spend for the election of its candidates in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates an aggregate amount not exceeding the equivalent of one peso and fifty centavos (PhP 1.50) for every voter currently registered therein. Expenses incurred by branches, chapters, or committees of such political party shall be included in the computation of the total expenditures of the political party.
Expenses incurred by other political parties shall be considered as expenses of their respective individual candidates and subject to limitation under Section 100 of this Code."
Although the allowable amount of PhP 1.50 per registered voter in the original OEC provision has already been amended by Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7166 ("RA 7166"), enacted in 1991. Section 13 of RA 7166 reads:
"Sec. 13. Authorized Expenses of Candidates and Political Parties. - The agreement amount that a candidate or registered political party may spend for election campaign shall be as follows:
1.    For candidates. - Ten pesos (P10.00) for President and Vice-President; and for other candidates Three Pesos (P3.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That a candidate without any political party and without support from any political party may be allowed to spend Five Pesos (P5.00) for every such voter; and
2.    For political parties. - Five pesos (P5.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates.
Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding any contribution in cash or in kind to any candidate or political party or coalition of parties for campaign purposes, duly reported to the Commission shall not be subject to the payment of any gift tax."
3 Also known as the Omnibus Election Code.
How to compute for the expenditure limit:
Example given: Candidate for Governor, Vice Governor of Laguna affiliated with or has the support of a political party:
Number of registered voters for the whole Province of Laguna
x
Authorized expense per voter registered in the constituency
=
Total amount of spending allowed for election campaign
1,525,522 registered voters in Laguna4
x
Php 3.00 per voter
=
PhP 4,576,566.00
For a political party, the rate is Five Pesos (PhP 5.00) per voter within their constituency. Political parties, upon the filing of their petition for registration with the Commission, will have specified their constituency - whether local (limited to a city or municipality), provincial, regional or national. The computation of their expenditure limit will depend on their alleged constituency. Party-list organizations will always have a national constituency base since they are voted upon by all registered voters, even if their constituency is limited to the interests of a sector of society (e.g. women, youth, fisherfolk, farmers, Bicolanos, senior citizens, veterans, etc.).
In the determination of whether a candidate or party has exceeded their allowable expenditure limit, not all expenses incurred by them during the course of their campaign should be included in the assessment. Section 102 of the OEC lists the different purposes for which a candidate or party can incur an expense during the campaign:
"Sec. 102. Lawful expenditures. - To carry out the objectives of the preceding sections, no candidate or treasurer of a political party shall, directly or indirectly, make any expenditure except for the following purposes:
a.    For travelling expenses of the candidates and campaign personnel in the course of the campaign and for personal expenses incident thereto;
b.    For compensation of campaigners, clerks, stenographers, messengers, and other persons actually employed in the campaign;
c.    For telegraph and telephone tolls, postage, freight and express delivery charges;
d.    For stationery, printing and distribution of printed matters relative to candidacy;
e.    For employment of watchers at the polls;
f.     For rent, maintenance and furnishing of campaign headquarters, office or place of meetings;
g.    For political meetings and rallies and the use of sound systems, lights and decorations during said meetings and rallies;
h.    For newspaper, radio, television and other public advertisements;
i.      For employment of counsel, the cost of which shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Section 100 and 101 hereof;
j.      For copying and classifying list of voters, investigating and challenging the right to vote of persons registered in the lists the costs of which shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Sections 100 and 101 hereof; or
k.    For printing sample ballots in such color, size and maximum number as may be authorized by the Commission and the cost of such printing shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Sections 100 and 101 hereof."
Note that subsections (i), (j) and (k) all contain the phrase "shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Sections 100 and 101 hereof" - which means that expenses made to hire lawyers, to secure a copy of the voters' lists, to file petitions for exclusion of voters from the list, to print sample ballots - should not be included in the computation. This is why there is a Summary Report of Lawful Expenditures required (also known as Annex H-1 of Resolution No. 9476) to filed by candidates and parties who participated in the 13 May 2013 National and Local Elections.
4 Minute Resolution No. 13-0133 dated 24 January 2013; EBAD Report on Total Number of Established Precincts, Cluster/Grouped Precincts, Total Number of Registered Voters and Voting Centers for the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections.

VOTERS' PLEDGE

I am a Responsible and Principled Citizen.

I will educate myself and others about the issues at hand so that my vote is a meaningful and relevant exercise of my right of suffrage.

I pledge to vote for candidates who will abide by the duly constituted rules on campaigning because I understand that those who refuse to obey the law in the little things are not likely to obey the law in the more important things;

I pledge to vote for candidates who, by word and action, renounce violence, coercion, vote-buying, and corruption as means for getting elected;

I pledge to vote for the candidates who listen to their constituents and are responsive to the needs and aspirations of those they seek to represent;

I pledge to vote as my conscience dictates in all elections.

I make these promises freely and upon my honor.

(This Voter Pledge was read at the Unity Walk of 13 January 2013, by COMELEC Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph)

SOURCE: NAMFREL