2022 Philippine Elections

TRACKER: Candidates who spent the most in 2022, based on their SOCEs

Dwight de Leon
TRACKER: Candidates who spent the most in 2022, based on their SOCEs

Rappler file photos; Lakas-CMD/Uniteam; VP Leni Media Bureau

(UPDATE) Rappler's own tally shows President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vice President Sara Duterte, and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano spent the most funds in their respective 2022 races. Senator Mark Villar, meanwhile, dug deepest into his pocket.
TRACKER: Candidates who spent the most in 2022, based on their SOCEs

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. spent the most among all candidates for the 2022 elections, based on Rappler’s tally of statements of contributions and expenditures (SOCEs) of 62 aspirants for president, vice president, and senator.

As earlier reported, Marcos’ expenditures totaled over P623 million, all of them through cash or in-kind contributions. He claimed he did not use any of his personal money to mount his Malacañang bid.

TRACKER: Candidates who spent the most in 2022, based on their SOCEs

Out of all national aspirants, it was billionaire’s son and now-senator Mark Villar who dug deepest into his pocket, spending over P131 million of his own money on his campaign.

Rappler breaks down the expenditures of these aspirants per national post.

TRACKER: Candidates who spent the most in 2022, based on their SOCEs
Presidential candidates

Based on partial copies of SOCEs released to the media by the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) campaign finance office on Wednesday, July 13, former vice president Leni Robredo was the second highest campaign spender, with expenditures amounting to P388 million.

Out of the seven presidential candidates who submitted their SOCEs on time, world-renowned boxer and former senator Manny Pacquiao spent the most of his personal money for his campaign (P62 million).

Vice presidential candidates

The highest spender among the vice presidential bets was also the eventual winner of the race: Sara Duterte.

She spent P216 million for her campaign, followed by now former senators Vicente Sotto III (P157 million) and Francis Pangilinan (P130 million). Like Marcos, Duterte claimed no personal money was spent to jumpstart her vice presidential aspirations.

Sotto used P49 million of his own money to vie for the vice presidency, the highest among the eight candidates who submitted their SOCEs on time.

While former congressman Walden Bello’s expenditures totaled P0 on his Form 1 provided by the Comelec, subsequent pages of his SOCE which he sent to Rappler noted he spent all his received contributions worth P2.8 million. Bello said on Thursday, July 14, that he will “notify the Comelec of this error in the summary statement.” Rappler will update this story, including the table, should the Comelec provide a corrected version of Bello’s SOCE.

Senatorial candidates

Now-senator Alan Peter Cayetano logged the highest expenditures – over P245 million – out of 47 senatorial candidates whose clear copies of SOCEs were provided by the Comelec.

Defeated candidates Richard Gordon and Jejomar Binay ranked second and third, respectively.

At least nine senators shelled out minimum eight-digit figures from their own banks to finance their bids for the upper chamber, with Villar topping the list at P131 million. Next to him were Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro (P67 million), Rodante Marcoleta (P54 million), Herbert Bautista (P44 million), and Raffy Tulfo (P38 million).

The top 12 spenders in the senatorial race were all seasoned politicians who have held national posts before.

Caveat

For the 2022 elections, there was a P674-million cap that presidential and vice presidential aspirants can utilize to woo voters during the campaign period (67.4 million total registered voters multiplied by P10, which is the aggregate amount they may spend for every voter for an election campaign).

It is important to take note that SOCEs cover expenses only during the campaign period, as aspirants for elective posts were not yet considered “candidates” before February 8. This means that candidates are technically allowed to go beyond the spending cap until the start of the campaign period.

For example, from January 2021 to March 2022, Marcos and his closest rival, then-outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo, topped ad spending on mainstream media among presidential aspirants, each logging P1.4 billion worth of ads, according to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

Another PCIJ report in January said Marcos did not record ad spending on Facebook, but the Ad Library “does not detail how much candidates spent to produce the ads and payments to social media experts who managed their accounts.” 

It is difficult to determine how honest candidates are in their campaign spending.

The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) once called for reforms to crack down on overspending candidates, such as periodic filing of contribution reports, and a pre-audit of candidates.

The Legal Network for Truthful Elections has also advocated for a raise in the spending limit, since the current ones have been in place and have remained unchanged since 1991. – Rappler.com

TRACKER: Candidates who spent the most in 2022, based on their SOCEs

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.