Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't vote for Presidential Candidates with TV ads.

They know it and the Comelec knows it, but the Presidential candidates identified in this article from the Philippine Star are still spending hundreds of millions of pesos for political advertisements.


MANILA, JUNE 10, 2009 (STAR) The elections are still 11 months away, but already, politicians casting a moist eye on the presidency or the agencies they head are spending fortunes on television advertisements.

Monitoring done by a media research company since October last year showed Sen. Manuel Villar to be the biggest spender of them all.

Villar has spent P321.4 million on TV ads, followed by Senate colleague Mar Roxas, who has used up P256.7 million.

In third place is Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, whose city has spent P115.1 million on advertisements featuring his achievements.

In fourth slot is Vice President Noli de Castro, whose Pag-Ibig Fund Corp. has paid P45.8 million for TV advertisements showing him urging people to avail themselves of cheap housing loans.

He is followed by Sen. Loren Legarda, who has spent P42 million on environmental protection advertising.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. is featured in a National Disaster Coordinating Council ad that seeks to promote disaster preparedness and awareness among the people.

The council, which Teodoro chairs, has used up P30.7 million.

Opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson spent the smallest amount of P22 million for his anti-corruption advocacy. He has quit the presidential race for lack of money.

Villar is a self-made billionaire, making his fortune in real estate. The Senate is investigating him for alleged conflict of interest and unethical conduct.

He spent P104.8 million last month, P75.7 million in April, P29.6 million in February, P32.5 million in January, P19.6 million in December, P22.7 million in November, and P36.4 million in October. No spending was reported for March.

Roxas, on the other hand, was born to wealth. He belongs to the family that owns the Araneta Center commercial complex in Cubao, Quezon City.

He spent P39.3 million in May, P114.2 million in April, P32 million in February, and P71.3 million in January.

According to the Commission on Elections, there is no law banning pre-election spending. (This is an erroneous reading of the law. PRF)

The hundreds of millions spent on TV and radio advertisements cannot be considered as election expenses since those who are promoting themselves are not yet candidates.

Election watchdogs have urged Congress to ban or regulate such advertising since it gives undue advantage to moneyed candidates. – Jess Diaz

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