House OKs bill increasing allowed campaign expenses for candidates

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved a bill allowing candidates to spend more per voter during the campaign season.

With a vote of 188-6-0, lawmakers gave their nod to House Bill (HB) No. 7295 on 3rd and final reading on Tuesday, May 22. 

The bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7166 or the law on the synchronized national and local elections.

HB 7295 increases the authorized election campaign expenditure of candidates and political parties for every voter registered in the constituency where they filed their respective certificates of candidacy. 

The proposed increases in campaign expenditure are as follows:

According to HB 7295's committee report, the campaign expenditure increases will "encourage candidates to declare their true and actual election campaign expenses as required by law."

The bill will have to go through another 3 readings at the Senate before it can be transmitted to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature.

Campaign overspending is prohibited under the Omnibus Election Code. This election offense merits imprisonment of one to 6 years, disqualification from holding public office, and removal of one's right to vote. (READ: Can candidates spend like crazy on campaigns?)

During the 2016 polls, Senator Grace Poe was the top spender and the top recipient of contributions among the 5 presidential candidates. She reported P510,845,262.56 in poll expenditures and P511,950,000 in campaign contributions.

Then-Davao City mayor and now President Duterte was the 3rd top spender in 2016, using P371,461,480.23 out of the P375,009,474.90 in contributions that he received.

Vice President Leni Robredo received the most contributions and spent the most in the vice presidential campaign. She reported a total of P418,664,130.60 in poll expenses, against P423,163,737.34 in contributions. (READ: Poe, Robredo spent the most among presidential, VP bets– Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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