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Comelec to consider economic conditions in setting campaign spending rules

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may factor the prevailing economic conditions prior to the election period in the new spending guidelines it will draft for candidates following the Supreme Court’s adverse decision regarding the airtime limit for campaign ads last year, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Sunday.
“We already have a proposal submitted to Congress, wherein we will not set a limit in the law but we shall have a ceiling based on the economic condition on a particular time frame prior to the election period,” he said.
One of the economic indicators that Comelec will study when it drafts the new campaign spending guidelines is the consumer price index, an indicator of the change in the average
retail prices of certain goods and services commonly purchased by households within a given year.
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the CPI is used in determining the inflation rate and purchasing power of the peso.
Brillantes said the commission en banc is open to considering consulting with the private sector, stock market players, and the BSP before setting the campaign spending limit for the 2016 national elections.
It is also possible that the Comelec will draft separate campaign spending limits for the 2016 polls and the 2019 midterm elections, the poll body chief added.
SC: Airtime limits arbitrary
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down the airtime limit on campaign ads imposed by the Comelec in the 2013 elections for being "arbitrary."
In particular, the Supreme Court junked the poll body's new regulation of summing up the total time of political advertisements, instead of limiting the airtime per station.
Comelec Resolutions Nos. 9615 and 9361 imposed a 120-minute cap on the ads run by a national candidates on all TV networks and 180 minutes on all radio stations, while local candidates were given 60 minutes in all TV networks and 90 minutes in all radio stations.
Under Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7166 every candidate for president and vice president is allowed to spend P10 for each voter, while other bets can spend P3 for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC). Political parties may also spend P5 for them.
Independent candidates, meanwhile, are allowed to spend P5 for every voter.
Brillantes expressed support for pending proposals seeking to increase the campaign spending limit for each voter, such as House Bill 2362 filed by Baguio City Rep. Nicasio Aliping, Jr.
“There are many proposals in Congress. If they want to consider the others also, we are okay with it as long as they don’t increase the limit too much,”he said.
Under the bill, candidates for national positions shall be allowed to spend P30 for every registered voter, while local bets can shell out up to P20. Political parties, and independent candidates will also be allowed to spend P20 per voter. — Xianne Arcangel/JDS, GMA News