Over 100 politicians being probed for poll overspending
MANILA, Philippines – Over 100 politicians from different political parties are now being investigated for campaign overspending during the 2013 midterm elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.
This is proof, said the poll body, that it is "not singling out" persons or political parties in running after candidates who violate campaign finance rules.
The announcement came after the Supreme Court upheld the Comelec's disqualification of Laguna Governor Emilio Ramon "ER" Ejercito for overspending in the 2013 polls.
In a statement on Wednesday, November 26, the Comelec said it has started preliminary investigations of election offense cases against more than 100 candidates from across the political spectrum for exceeding the campaign expenditure limit set by law.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that with the move, the poll body shows that "there are no sacred cows" when it comes to holding accountable those who commit election offenses by overspending in their campaigns.
"There is no truth to allegations that the Comelec is singling out a particular person, family or political party," Jimenez said.
In September, the Comelec's Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) filed complaints against 25 winning and losing candidates in the 2010 and 2013 elections for going beyond campaign spending limits.
Among those charged is Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, who supposedly overspent when he ran for Congressman of San Juan City in 2010.
JV Ejercito, elected senator in 2013, is a cousin of ousted governor ER Ejercito. They both belong to opposition party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Republic Act 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law, sets the following spending limits 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. – Rappler.com