John Rey Saavedra
CEBU CITY — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday reminded local candidates running in the May 13 mid-term elections to spend for their campaign based on the amount per voter allowed by law. Lawyer Jerome Brillantes, Comelec-Cebu supervisor, said the Omnibus Election Code, although obsolete, provides that candidates who belong to a political party can only spend PHP3 per registered voter.
Independent candidates or candidates who do not belong to any of the political parties registered with the Comelec, are allowed to spend PHP5 per voter. Political parties and party-list groups are also allowed to spend PHP5 per voter. The expenditure is multiplied by the number of registered voters covered by the elective position a candidate is running for. “Everything that a candidate spends during his election must reflectively be declared in their statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE),” Brillantes said during the 888 forum at the Marco Polo Hotel here.
He, however, agreed with the view that the law needs to be revisited because of the obsolete provisions on the amount per voter. Brillantes is amenable to the idea of changing the allowable amount by revisiting the Omnibus Election Code, saying that the amount “must cope with the changes,” now that the prices of commodities are already up. The provincial election supervisor said the SOCE must also include the amount being donated to the candidate. “There’s a gray area when individuals or organizations spend but without the knowledge of the candidate,” he said. Latest data from Comelec-Cebu show that the province remains to be the most vote-rich in the country, with a voting population of 3,082,621.
Cebu City has the highest number of registered voters with 709,608; Mandaue City has 226,091; and Lapu-Lapu City has 214,117. The combined registered voters from the seven legislative districts of Cebu reached a total of 2,158,896, with the first district registering the highest number of voters with 431,872, followed by the third district with 369,341, and fifth district with 366,162. The sixth district of Cebu has 350,166 while the two lowest numbers of registered voters are 161,412 and 156,665 for the second and seventh district, respectively. The seventh district was originally part of the second district, until former president Benigno Aquino III signed into law Republic Act 10684 creating the district. (PNA)