Nancy, 4 others earn from poll donations

Miriam Grace A. Go

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The Bureau of Internal Revenue classifies unused campaign contributions as the candidate’s income and therefore subject to tax

MANILA, Philippines – Campaign spending reports for almost half of the senatorial candidates are out, and they reveal 5 senatorial bets who even earned from the otherwise costly exercise.

The one-page summaries of the candidates’ Statement of Election Contributions and Expenses (SOCEs) show that two candidates from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), two from Team PNoy, and an independent got more donations than they were able to spend.

Out of the 33 senatorial candidates, 32 claim to have submitted their SOCEs to the Commission on Elections, but only 29 are with the poll body (3 said they sent their reports through registered mail). The Comelec, however, made available to reporters the summary reports of only 15 candidates on Friday, June 14.

Of these 15 bets, the biggest earner is UNA’s Nancy Binay, a political neophyte and daughter of the Vice President. She saved a little over than P8 million from her campaign kitty, while finishing 5th in the winning circle with 16.81 million votes.

Binay received campaign contributions totalling P136.87 million, but spent only P128.7 million.

Campaign savings

Reporting the next highest campaign savings is independent candidate Ramon Montaño. The retired police general, who garnered only 1 million votes, received P6.63 million in contributions, but spent only P1.38 million, declaring P5.25 million in unused funds.

Also holding an extra P1.17 million from the campaign is Team PNoy’s Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV. The presidential cousin, the only Liberal Party bet who won, reported getting P125.5 million in donations and spending only P124.33 million.

A revenue regulation issued by Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on June 14, 2011, classifies unused campaign contributions as the candidate’s income and therefore subject to tax.

Section 2 of Revenue Regulation No. 7-2011 states: “Unutilized/excess campaign funds, that is, campaign contributions net of the candidate’s campaign expenditures, shall be considered as subject to income tax, and as such, must be included in the candidate’s taxable income as stated in his/her Income Tax Return (ITR) filed for the subject taxable year.”

Should candidates fail to file their campaign spending reports, the BIR will consider them not having spent anything, and will therefore consider “the entire amount of such campaign contributions” as their personal taxable incomes.

Jack and Grace, too

Two other candidates – one losing, one winning – reported campaign savings, but only less than half a million pesos each.

Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr of UNA, who failed to make it to the Top 12, saved almost P400,000. He received P150.8 million in contributions and spent P150.4 million. Enrile was the candidate who received the most contributions, going by SOCE reports that were submitted to the Comelec.

Grace Poe-Llamanzares of Team PNoy saved almost P160,000, after receiving P123.61 million in donations and spending P123.45 million.

The table below shows the exact amounts of campaign contributions, expenses, and savings of the 5 senatorial candidates: 

  CANDIDATE                                  CONTRIBUTIONS                     EXPENDITURES     SAVINGS                  
   BINAY, Nancy  136,869,398.78     128,695,057.10  8,174,341.68
   MONTAÑO, Ramon  6,629,175.00  1,383,000.00  5,246,175.00
   AQUINO, Bam      125,493,000.00  124,327,987.81  1,165,012.19 
   ENRILE, Jack   150,797,910.18  150,401,072.00  396,838.18
   POE, Grace   123,605,341.27  123,448,994.86  156,346.41

Drawing from own pockets

Nine of the 15 candidates, however, reported the opposite experience, shelling out their own monies to tide their campaigns over. 

Spending the highest amount of personal funds was Nacionalista Party’s Cynthia Villar, who ran under Team PNoy and grabbed the 10th Senate seat. She spent P131.66 million to sustain her campaign, since she received only P2.61 million in donations. Her campaign required a total of P134.27 million.

As former congresswoman of Las Piñas, Villar was consistently the richest member of the House of Representatives, according to her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Network. She always jointly declared assets with her senator-husband, Manuel Villar Jr.

Another candidate from a known rich family spent the second highest amount of personal money to campaign. Liberal Party’s Jamby Madrigal, who ran under Team PNoy, spent P39.13 million, having received zero contributions. She lost her bid to return to the Senate.

Another former senator who attempted to return to the chamber but lost – Ernesto Maceda of UNA – spent quite an amount of personal funds, P24.62 million. He received P6.2 million in contributions, but his campaign required P30.82 million.

Two more losing candidates spent millions of their own monies: independent Ricardo Penson (P19.7 million) and Liberal’s Ramon Magsaysay Jr (P16.1 million).

Four candidates drew from their own pockets less than P1 million each: re-electionists Alan Peter Cayetano (almost P620,000), Antonio Trillanes IV (about P555,000); and losing bets Samson Alcantara of the Social Justice Society (almost P344,000) and Christian Señeres of the Democratic Party of the Philippines (almost P340,000).

The table below shows the exact amounts of campaign contributions, expenses, and personal funds spent by the 9 senatorial candidates:

   VILLAR, Cynthia  2,613,454.41  134,270,127.25  -131,656,672.84
   MADRIGAL, Jamby      0.00  39,132,083.36  -39,132,083.36
   MACEDA, Ernesto   6,200,000.00  30,823,843.81  -24,623,843.81
   PENSON, Ricardo   0.00  19,698,760.45  -19,698,760.45
   MAGSAYSAY, Ramon Jr   51,084,000.00  67,155,705.79  -16,071,705.79
   CAYETANO, Alan Peter   130,425,463.81  131,044,782.33  -619,318.52
   TRILLANES, Antonio IV   29,580,000.00  30,135,014.77  -555,014.77
   ALCANTARA, Samson   0.00  344,459.07  -344,459.07
   SEÑERES, Christian   0.00  338,205.24  -338,205.24

One candidate – John Carlos “JC” delos Reyes of Ang Kapatiran – reported zero balance. His SOCE shows the only contribution he received was P20,000 from his party, and he spent that same amount to campaign. –


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Miriam Grace A. Go

Miriam Grace A Go’s areas of interest are local governance, campaigns and elections, and anything Japanese.