The most poll contributions go to…

Paterno Esmaquel II
While 4 senatorial candidates report not receiving any contributions

MANILA, Philippines – Defeated senatorial bet Jack Enrile not only had the fattest campaign kitty among at least 15 candidates, he also received the most contributions, according to partial data released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, June 14.

Enrile, who landed 15th in the official count, received P150,797,910.18 in contributions, P396,838.18 more than what he spent. This is based on his Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE), which was due Thursday, June 13.

The Comelec has received the SOCEs of 30 out of 33 senatorial bets. So far, only one defeated candidate, Risa Hontiveros of Team PNoy, has not clarified if she had submitted her campaign spending report.

However, it has disclosed the total campaign expenditures of only 15 of these candidates. The filings of the other 15 will be made public in the coming week.

The 4 candidates that got the biggest contributions next to Enrile won in the midterm elections. They were: 

  • Nancy Binay, who got P136,869,398.78;

  • Alan Peter Cayetano, P130,425,463.81;

  • Bam Aquino, P125,493,000;

  • Grace Poe, P123,605,341.27.

Among those who received contributions, Ang Kapatiran bet John Carlos “JC” delos Reyes got the lowest – P20,000 from his party.

Ineterestingly, of the 15 candidates, only Delos Reyes got contributions from a political party. The rest only received “contributions from other persons.”

The data made public by the Comelec didn’t provide the lists of contributors yet.

Four candidates reported not receiving any contributions: Christian Señeres, Samson Alcantara, Jamby Madrigal, and Ricardo Penson.

The other candidates received the following contributions, based on the SOCEs disclosed by the Comelec so far:

  • Ramon Magsaysay Jr – P51,084,000

  • Antonio Trillanes IV – P29,580,000

  • Ramon Montano – P6,629,175

  • Ernesto Maceda – P6,200,000

  • Cynthia Villar – P2,613,454.41

Of the 15 candidates, 9 had to shell out their own money to augment their campaign expenses. They were the 3 Nacionalista Party candidates (Villar, Trillanes, Cayetano); 2 Liberal Party candidates (Magsaysay and Madrigal); 1 Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino bet (Ernesto Maceda); and the independents or those from smaller parties (Señeres, Alcantara, and Penson). 

Partial disclosure

By filing SOCEs, candidates disclose how much contributions they got, how much they spent, and if the amounts comply with campaign spending cap prescribed in the election law.

Election players say this cap is outdated. Republic Act 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law, allows presidential and vice presidential candidates to spend up to P10 per voter. It allows their political parties to spend P5 per voter.

The law allows other candidates to spend P3 per voter. In addition to this, the political party in the candidate’s constituency may spend up to P5 per voter. Independent bets may spend P5 per voter.

With 54 million registered voters in the recently concluded midterm polls, a senatorial candidate is therefore allowed to spend a maximum of P162 million in his campaign.

The SOCE also shows who contributed to a candidate’s campaign. The Bureau of Internal Revenue initially planned to use this as guide on which contributors should be checked for inconsistencies in tax declarations, and which candidates should pay donor’s tax.  –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at