Friday, January 22, 2016

100. Campaign Finance Issues: Why no independent election expense?

In Ejercito v. COMELEC (G.R. No.212398 November 25, 2014), Ejercito argued that an election borne by a political supporter without the knowledge and consent of the candidate should not be counted against the candidate's expense limit. The Supreme Court said, however, that in this jurisdiction the concept of independent election expense is not applicable. Thus, a political advertisement worth more than Php 23 M, which Ejercito claimed was paid for by a supporter, was deemed as overspending against Ejercito's limit of barely Php 4.5 Million, leading to his disqualification. As a matter of fact, Section 4 Rule V of Comelec Resolution No. 9991 known as the Omnibus Rules on Campaign Finance, requires all political expenditures to bear the written consent of the candidate or the political party. What is the implication? If, for example, I print on my own volition my advocacy for the presidency of Allan Carreon, the intergalactic ambassador, I would need Allan Carreon to sign off on it, otherwise I have just committed an election offense. Further, whatever money I spent on the sticker is charged to Allan Carreon's election expense limit. Poor guy. If the Martians decide to bankroll his campaign without his knowledge, he could be disqualified not as a nuisance but as an election overspender, like Ejercito in 2013. 

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