Comelec to deploy monitoring units for campaign contributions, spending in Davao region

DAVAO CITY(MindaNews/ 21 September)—Monitoring teams will be deployed in every province, municipality and city in Region 11 or the Davao region to monitor campaign donations and spending of electoral candidates in the 2013 mid-term polls, a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official said on Thursday.

Marlon S. Casquejo, Comelec 11 assistant regional director, told reporters that each monitoring team will be composed of an election officer and representatives from the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Environment and Natural Resources Office.

Comelec Resolution 9476 mandates the creation of a campaign finance unit that will monitor, audit, inspect and investigate electoral contributions and expenditures of candidates.

Based on the Rules and Regulations Governing Electoral Contributions and Expenditures, the aggregate amount that a candidate or registered political party may spend for every voter currently registered in the constituency shall be P3 for official candidates of political parties, and P5 for a candidate without any political party.

Spending beyond the amount set may result in the candidate’s disqualification as it is an electoral offense, Casquejo said.

Danilo Cullo, Comelec Davao regional lawyer, earlier told reporters that the implementing rules and guidelines of the campaign finance unit are still being finalized.

He explained that election officers “do not have the capacity” to perform the tasks of a campaign finance unit because the ones who will be assigned have to follow through the activities of candidates since the first day of the campaign period.

Cullo stressed that election officers and their staff are fully loaded with tasks pertaining to the upcoming polls and that “they do not even have the time to monitor
who among the candidates did not submit their sworn statement of election contributions and expenditure during the 2010 elections.”

Casquejo said the campaign finance units face difficult tasks in monitoring the candidate’s expenses for pamphlets, snacks during meetings and sorties, and posters, unlike in the candidate’s media advertising that can be traced easily to the media outfits.

The filing of candidacy for the 2013 polls is from October 1-5, and within this period voters’ registration will be temporarily suspended.

The period of voters’ registration is until October 31, unless extended. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)