House passes bill raising campaign spending limits of candidates, parties

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 22) — The House of Representatives approved on Tuesday a bill that raises the allowed campaign spending limits of candidates and political parties.

The final vote on House Bill 7295 had 188 lawmakers in favor of the measure, while six objected. There were no abstentions.

Under the bill, the authorized expenses per voter for the following candidates are: P50 (from P10) for President, P40 (from P10) for Vice President, P30 (from P3) for Senator, district Congressman, Governor, Vice Governor, Board member, Mayor, Vice Mayor and Councilors and P10 (from P5) for party-list parties.

It says that a candidate without any political party and without support from any political party may be allowed to spend P40 (from P5) for every voter.

Overspending is prohibited under the Omnibus Election Code. It also penalizes those who do not meet the deadline for submitting Statement of Contributions and Expenditure (SOCE).

But, in contrast to the hundreds of millions of pesos in campaign spending, the fine for not filing the SOCE is only between ₱10,000 and ₱30,000, depending on the position.

In the 2016 Presidential Elections, Grace Poe was the biggest spender with ₱510,845,262.56, while her campaign contributions stood at ₱511,950,000.