Courtesy again of CBCPNews.
MANILA, Jan. 12, 2010—A Catholic bishop has warned the voting public against politicians who are overspending on their campaign.
Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi said candidates who are spending so much to ensure electoral victory are not worthy of any trust to serve in the government.
According to him, one of the obvious culprits in the misapplication of the democratic exercise is the penchant for electoral overspending.
He said politicians have this “negative mindset” to fuel their campaign through the sheer force and persuasion of money for the better chances to win.
“As sure as the break of dawn, the winning candidates will surely recover their massive campaign expenses from the public funds or other corrupt means,” Baylon said. [Hell yeah! The president of the Philippines is receiving P60,000 monthly. How in the world will he get back his investment?]
To avert the dreaded vicious cycle of campaign overspending and corruption, the bishop called on the people to stop and arrest the foul tradition.
The voters, he said, must not to sell their votes and support candidates according to their platforms of government.
“Platform is really very important. That’s where politics should stand on,” Baylon also said. [Hmm. But some of those who spend so much have a not-so-bad platform. I think campaign spending is still a good yardstick on who is highly probable to be corrupt in government. This guy who overspends did some mumbo-jumbo in a road project. Have you tried passing that road? My golly, it's not a short cut! It's more like an open house trip to a newly opened housing project. That's what it is!]
Several candidates already started spending on their political advertisements on TV, radio, and print media as early as July 2009.
While the law specifically states that candidates are only allowed to spend P5 per registered voter for the national elective post, many are already spent too much since last year.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec), however, admitted that they are powerless and cannot do anything about it.
The reason, Comelec chairman Jose Melo earlier said, is because they cannot determine that the candidates overspend on the basis of the statement of contributions and expenditures that they are required to submit after the elections.
Assuming that a candidate exceeded the required amount, he also said, “they can cover that up by saying it was paid for by somebody or that it is donated by someone."
I had a chat about this topic with an officemate and she made valid points.
1. Where in the world is this candidate getting all the money? One candidate has 10 advertisement spots a day in ABS-CBN for 30 seconds each spot. A 30 seconder costs P250,000. So that's P2.5M a day for just one network. Not to mention spots in other TV stations, radio stations, and Internet sites! Do the math.
2. Does he expect us to believe that these are campaign contributions? Let's give him some benefit of a doubt here.
3. If indeed he gets it from campaign contributions, why not declare it?
4. If he wins, do we expect that his friends would not use the position he won to get back their investment? True enough. As one shrewd politician once said "What are we in power for?"
The morality of those running for public office is now put into fore with the amount of money they specd just to be in power. Is the spending worth the stress of public service? Probably, if the price is right...So...
Come on down!
I work in mass media and PR and I know how these things work. The moment I saw his advertisements and made a rough estimate, I know he does not mean well for seeking the highest office of the land.
I struck him out of my list for May 2010 months ago.