69 candidates overspent in 2010, 2013 polls – Comelec
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) found that 69 candidates for congressional and local positions exceeded campaign spending limits in the last two elections.
However, one of those 2010 congressional candidates, now Senator JV Ejercito, questioned his inclusion in the list, saying he could not have overspent.
The Comelec Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) filed overspending complaints against 25 candidates between September 25 and 30, 2014. These candidates (listed below) are undergoing preliminary investigation by the Comelec law department:
Candidates for representative
- JV Ejercito, lone district of San Juan City - won
- Orlando Fua, lone district of Siquijor - won
- Carlo Oliver Diasnes, lone district of Batanes - lost
- Wilfredo Estorninos, 2nd district of Samar - lost
- Ralph Lantion - lone district of Nueva Vizcaya - lost
- Justinian Licnachan - lone district of Ifugao - lost
- Maria Blanca Lokin, 2nd district of Pangasinan - lost
- Narzal Mallares - lone district of Antique - lost
- Grace Sumalpong - lone district of Siquijor - lost
Candidates for governor
- Herminia Ramiro, Misamis Occidental - won
- Harry Meso, Dinagat Islands - lost
- Manuel Montarde, Catanduanes - lost
- Carlos Valdez Jr, Sultan Kudarat - lost
Candidates for board member
- Ranjit Shahani, 6th district of Pangasinan - won
- Quirino Esguerra Jr, 2nd district of Zamboanga Sibugay - lost
Candidates for mayor
- Arsenio Agustin - Marcos, Ilocos Norte - won in 2013
- Rudy Alvarez - Palanas, Masbate - won
- Darell dela Flor - Belison, Antique - won
- Juditas Trinidad - Iguig, Cagayan - won
- Jose Norella Jr - Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro - lost
- Ernesto Pablo Jr - Rizal, Occidental Mindoro - lost
- Archimedes Sales - Pozzoburio, Pangasinan - lost
Candidates for vice mayor
- Ferdinand Trinidad - Iguig, Cagayan - won
- Cesar Tria Jr - Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro - won in 2013
Candidate for councilor
- Ephraim Gianan - Virac, Catanduanes - won
The Comelec will release the names of the 44 other candidates once the complaints against them have been filed, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told Rappler.
The complaints were based on the statements of election contributions and expenses (SOCE) that the candidates submitted to the poll body, said the Comelec law department.
After their preliminary investigations, the law department said that they would submit recommendations to the Comelec en banc, which could then decide to file cases in court against the candidates.
If found guilty of campaign overspending, the candidates would face 1 to 6 years of imprisonment, disqualification from public office, and deprivation of right to suffrage.
Ejercito, who ran for representative of San Juan City in 2010, said that he could not have overspent. He was elected to the Senate in 2013.
"I ran unopposed [in 2010]. How can I overspend?" Ejercito said in a tweet on Tuesday, October 14.
COMELEC said I am one of those who overspent in the 2010 elections when I ran as Rep of San Juan. I RAN UNOPPOSED. How can I overspend?— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) October 14, 2014
Republic Act 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law, sets the following spending caps for candidates and political parties:
- P10 per voter for presidential and vice presidential candidates
- P3 per voter for other candidates who are members of a political party
- P5 per voter for independent candidates
- P5 per voter for political parties
Overspending during the campaign period is among the grounds for a candidate's disqualification, according to Comelec Resolution No. 9629.
Last May, the poll body retroactively disqualified Laguna Governor Emilio Ramon "ER" Ejercito for overspending during the 2013 midterm polls. – Rappler.com