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Philippines

In law
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In practice
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In the Philippines, no direct public funding is provided by the state for campaigns, though parties and candidates, in law, receive subsidized access to advertising. In practice, however, advertising slots are not always distributed equitably. Non-financial state resources, as in many countries, are regularly abused during elections. There are few restrictions on contributions during campaigns, but electoral spending is capped for both parties and candidates. During the 2013 elections, parties and candidates made regular attempts to circumvent those spending limits. Those contesting elections are only required to report on their financial information once, at the conclusion of the 90 day campaign period. In practice, the submitted reports are quite detailed, and contain extensive lists of contributors. Reports filed with the authorities are available to the public in non-machine-readable formats. Third party actors are active in the Philippines, but their independent political activities are not regulated. The Commission on Elections, COMELEC, is responsible for monitoring and enforcing political finance laws. The appointment of commissioners is often politicized, but some guarantees, in practice, protect the independence of commissioners once they assume office. As such, COMELEC carries out frequent investigations, and sanctions violators of the law regularly. Sanctions, however, are not always successfully implemented, as candidates in particular avoid paying the prescribed fees. Recent reforms have greatly expanded COMELEC's remit, and enforcement, as such, is currently strong, especially relative to the situation in the recent past.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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      Direct Public Funding
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        NO
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        NO
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        Not applicable. There is no direct public funding nor a mechanism with which to determine it.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources

        Interview with Luie Tito F. Guia, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, July 24, 2014. (Guia was interviewed for the MPT Indicators project primarily as an expert on political finance, rather than as an official of the Commisson on Elections)

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        50
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Not applicable. There is no direct public funding nor a mechanism with which to determine it.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources

        Interview with Luie Tito F. Guia, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, July 24, 2014. (Guia was interviewed for the MPT Indicators project primarily as an expert on political finance, rather than as an official of the Commission on Elections)

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        YES
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        Candidates, political parties, and party-list organizations are prohibited by law to use the following for any election campaign:

        1. Public funds deposited in public financing institutions or by government offices, banks, or agencies;
        2. Printing press, radio or television station operated by the government, government-owned and –controlled corporations, and the armed forces;
        3. Equipment, vehicle, and facilities owned by the government government-owned and –controlled corporations, and the armed forces.

        The above are among the “prohibited acts” stipulated under Article XXII “Election Offenses” of the Omnibus Election Code (Section 261 (o)).

        The Code also states that releasing of public funds for public works is prohibited 45 days before the elections, and up to 30 days after the elections, except for: - maintenance of existing and/or completed public work projects; - works undertaken by contract through public bidding held, or by negotiated contract awarded,45 days before the election; - payment for procedures done preparatory to actual construction and wages of watchmen; - emergency works because of public calamity.

        The Code also prohibits the release of public funds for the "Department of Social Welfare and Development and the like, except for salaries and routine expenses; and to Housing agencies, except salaries and administrative expenses" (Article XXII, Section 261 (v)).

        For the 2013 elections, the Comelec issued Resolution No. 9585 on Dec. 18, 2012, which provided the guidelines for the above provisions in law.

        The Comelec also issued Resolution no. 9660 on March 22, 2013, to clarify the exceptions to the above prohibitions in the release and use of public funds. Said resolution also specified the guidelines for the issuance of Certificates of Exception, for government agencies requesting for exceptions from the prohibitions defined in law, and for the members of the House of Representatives requesting for exemption of "various projects and programs based on the use of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)".

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE, ARTICLE XXII, ELECTION OFFENSES “Section 261. Prohibited Acts. - The following shall be guilty of an election offense:

        (…)

        (o) Use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign. - Any person who uses under any guise whatsoever, directly or indirectly, (1) public funds or money deposited with, or held in trust by, public financing institutions or by government offices, banks, or agencies; (2) any printing press, radio, or television station or audio-visual equipment operated by the Government or by its divisions, sub-divisions, agencies or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by the Armed Forces of the Philippines; or (3) any equipment, vehicle, facility, apparatus, or paraphernalia owned by the government or by its political subdivisions, agencies including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for any election campaign or for any partisan political activity.”

        (...)

        (v) Prohibition against release, disbursement or expenditure of public funds. - Any public official or employee including barangay officials and those of government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, who, during forty-five days before a regular election and thirty days before a special election, releases, disburses or expends any public funds for:

        1) Any and all kinds of public works, except the following:

        (a) Maintenance of existing and/or completed public works project: Provided, That not more than the average number of laborers or employees already employed therein during the six-month period immediately prior to the beginning of the forty-five day period before election day shall be permitted to work during such time: Provided, further, That no additional laborers shall be employed for maintenance work within the said period of forty-five days; (b) Work undertaken by contract through public bidding held, or by negotiated contract awarded, before the forty-five day period before election: Provided, That work for the purpose of this section undertaken under the so-called "takay" or "paquiao" system shall not be considered as work by contract; (c) Payment for the usual cost of preparation for working drawings, specifications, bills of materials, estimates, and other procedures preparatory to actual construction including the purchase of materials and equipment, and all incidental expenses for wages of watchmen and other laborers employed for such work in the central office and field storehouses before the beginning of such period: Provided, That the number of such laborers shall not be increased over the number hired when the project or projects were commenced; and (d) Emergency work necessitated by the occurrence of a public calamity, but such work shall be limited to the restoration of the damaged facility. No payment shall be made within five days before the date of election to laborers who have rendered services in projects or works except those falling under subparagraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d), of this paragraph. This prohibition shall not apply to ongoing public works projects commenced before the campaign period or similar projects under foreign agreements. For purposes of this provision, it shall be the duty of the government officials or agencies concerned to report to the Commission the list of all such projects being undertaken by them.

        (2) The Ministry of Social Services and Development and any other office in other ministries of the government performing functions similar to said ministry, except for salaries of personnel, and for such other routine and normal expenses, and for such other expenses as the Commission may authorize after due notice and hearing. Should a calamity or disaster occur, all releases normally or usually coursed through the said ministries and offices of other ministries shall be turned over to, and administered and disbursed by, the Philippine National Red Cross, subject to the supervision of the Commission on Audit or its representatives, and no candidate or his or her spouse or member of his family within the second civil degree of affinity or consanguinity shall participate, directly or indirectly, in the distribution of any relief or other goods to the victims of the calamity or disaster; and

        (3) The Ministry of Human Settlements and any other office in any other ministry of the government performing functions similar to said ministry, except for salaries of personnel and for such other necessary administrative or other expenses as the Commission may authorize after due notice and hearing.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. There is also a Constitutional provision that prohibits the president from making appointments to executive positions. Sec. 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution provides that “Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments...”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]) Article XXII: Election Offenses. Section 261 (o) and (v), Dec. 3, 1985. http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        Comelec Resolution No. 9585, "RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING BAN ON PUBLIC WORKS AND RELEASE, DISBURSEMENT AND EXPENDITURES OF PUBLIC FUNDS, CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC WORKS, DELIVERY OF MATERIALS FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND ISSUANCE OF TREASURY WARRANTS AND SIMILAR DEVICES IN CONNECTION WITH THE MAY 13, 2013 AUTOMATED SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL, LOCAL AND ARMM REGIONAL ELECTIONS," Dec. 18, 2012, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9585

        COMELEC Resolution no. 9660, "IN THE MATTER OF REQUESTS FOR EXEMPTION FROM THE COVERAGE OF SECTION 261 (V) AND (W) OF THE OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE, CLARIFYING RESOLUTION NO. 9585 AND SECTION 19 OF RESOLUTION NO. 9616," March 22, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9660

        Reviewer's sources: The 1987 Philippine Constitution. http://www.gov.ph/constitutions/the-1987-constitution-of-the-republic-of-the-philippines/

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        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The use of state resources such as public vehicles and staff for the elections is quite prevalent in every election, especially at the local level, according to the sources interviewed. Examples abound, including the rounding up of constituents and bringing them en masse to the Comelec offices so that they can register as voters (during the registration period) and making sure that they will vote on election day (Guia, July 23, 2014; Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014). Local public radio and TV stations – or those owned by the local government – are also used for campaigns of local re-electionists (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        However, the sources interviewed agree that a much bigger problem is the use of public development funds to spread political largesse before the start of the election campaign period (Lim, July 28, 2014; Guia, July 23, 2014). This is the reason that politicians would prefer to hold the favor of the ruling party, or the executive, because it controls the funding for campaign expenses (Guia, July 23, 2014).

        In the 2013 elections (as well as in previous elections), the pork barrel called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) appears to have given incumbents undue advantage in their bid for re-election (Mangahas and Ilagan, Oct. 9, 2013; Medina, April 3, 2014).

        A review by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism of PDAF releases from January to May 2013 revealed that “21 senators, including six re-electionists and four others with son, brother, or wife who were senatorial candidates, received from January to May 2013 at least P1.4 billion (USD 31,978,114) of PDAF monies.”

        The same report reveals that “nearly all the members of the House of the 15th Congress — a majority of them re-electionists or candidates for local positions — altogether received P8.77 billion (USD 200,320,042.70) of PDAF from February 2013 to May 2013” and that “of the 392 Special Allotment Release Orders or SAROs that the Department of Budget and Management issued in May 2013, at least 13 were released on May 14 (day after election day), 38 more on May 15, and another 10 on May 16.”

        “Indications are pork worked its wonders in the May 2013 elections, judging by the value and volume of PDAF releases to the senators and congressmen from January to May (2013),” the PCIJ report also said.

        In order to “plug” the use of public funds for the elections and prevent incumbents from having undue advantage over other candidates, the Comelec issued Resolution no. 9660 on March 22, 2013. The resolution aimed to clarify the exceptions to the prohibitions in the release and use of public funds (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        (The Comelec had earlier issued Resolution no. 9585 on Dec. 18, 2012. Said resolution authorized the Campaign Finance Unit to issue “Certificates of Exception to parties who may request for them, upon payment of a certification fee of Five Hundred Pesos (PhP 500.00 or USD 11.42),” (Section 19).)

        While the Omnibus Election Code bans the release, disbursement, and use of public funds “45 days before the elections, and up to 30 days after the elections, the Comelec, according to Resolution 9660, “has been receiving requests from various government agencies for exemptions from the prohibition (in the OEC),” and that “similar requests have likewise been received from incumbent Members of the House of Representatives to exempt various projects and programs based on the use of their Priority Development Assistant Fund (PDAF).”

        Resolution no. 9660 thus specified the guidelines for the issuance of such Certificates of Exception.

        The PDAF has since been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on Nov. 19, 2013 following a huge corruption scandal allegedly involving several Senators and Congressmen. The corruption case is still ongoing in court (Torres-Tupas, Nov. 19, 2013).

        Aside from the pork or PDAF, the Conditional Cash Transfer program, locally known as the 4Ps, has also been challenged for its potential to be used as an electioneering tool by incumbents (Ordinario, Oct. 19, 2012; Tupaz, May 25, 2013).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources

        Luie Tito F. Guia, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 23, 2014.

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2014.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        Comelec Resolution No. 9660, IN THE MATTER OF REQUESTS FOR EXEMPTION FROM THE COVERAGE OF SECTION 261 (V) AND (W) OF THE OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE, CLARIFYING RESOLUTION NO. 9585 AND SECTION 19 OF RESOLUTION NO. 9616, 22 March 2013 http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9660

        Comelec Resolution No. 9585, "RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING BAN ON PUBLIC WORKS AND RELEASE, DISBURSEMENT AND EXPENDITURES OF PUBLIC FUNDS, CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC WORKS, DELIVERY OF MATERIALS FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND ISSUANCE OF TREASURY WARRANTS AND SIMILAR DEVICES IN CONNECTION WITH THE MAY 13, 2013 AUTOMATED SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL, LOCAL AND ARMM REGIONAL ELECTIONS," Dec. 18, 2012, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9585

        “PDAF wins elections,favors political parties,” Malou Mangahas and Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Oct. 9, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/pdaf-wins-elections-favors-political-parties/

        "NABCOR's P300M used as election funds – former official," Andrei Medina, GMA News, April 3, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/355252/news/nation/nabcor-s-p300m-used-as-election-funds-former-official

        SC declares PDAF unconstitutional, Tetch Torres-Tupas, Inquirer.net, Nov. 19, 2013, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/530223/sc-declares-pdaf-unconstitutional

        “CCT can be used to buy votes, expert warns,” Cai Ordinario, Rappler.com, Published Oct 19, 2012, updated May 24, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/business/snapshots/14479-ccts-could-be-used-as-vote-buying-tool,-expert-warns/

        “Did Liberal Party use 4Ps for electioneering?” Voltaire Tupaz, Rappler.com, May 25, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/29950-did-liberal-party-use-4ps-for-electioneering

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        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Bilang 881) states that all candidates and political parties shall have equal access to media time and space during the campaign period (Article X Section 86).

        The Code also prohibits any person who operates a radio or TV station from discrimination against any candidate, political party, or coalition in the sale of airtime. This constitutes an election offense with a penalty of imprisonment of one to six years, in addition to the revocation of franchise (Section 261 (dd-5)).

        The Fair Election Act (Republic Act 9006) provides specific guidelines for regulating air time for political advertisements for all national candidates and political parties.

        Said law stipulates the following discounted rates that should be applied by media entities for the political advertisements of all registered political parties and bonafide candidates during the campaign period: 30 percent for television, 20 percent for radio, and 10 percent for print over the average rates charged during the first three quarters of the calendar year preceding the elections (Section 11).

        It also requires all TV and radio stations to submit to Comelec copies of its broadcast logs and certificates of performance of political advertisements. All media entities are also required to submit copies of advertising contracts to Comelec within five days from signing (Sections 6.2 and 6.3)

        For the 2013 elections, the above provisions were reiterated in COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 or the “Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 9006, Otherwise Known as the ‘Fair Election Act’, in Connection to the 13 May 2013 National and Local Elections, and Subsequent Elections.”

        Relevant passages:

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE, ARTICLE X, CAMPAIGN AND ELECTION PROPAGANDA "Section 86. Regulation of election propaganda through mass media. - (a) The Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations regarding the sale of air time for partisan political purposes during the campaign period to insure the equal time as to duration and quality in available to all candidates for the same office or political parties at the same rates or given free of charge; that such rates are reasonable and not higher than those charged other buyers or users of air time for non-political purposes; that the provisions of this Code regarding the limitation of expenditures by candidates and political parties and contributions by private persons, entities and institutions are effectively enforced; and to ensure that said radio broadcasting and television stations shall not unduly allow the scheduling of any program or permit any sponsor to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or political party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or including said candidate and/or political party in such program respecting, however, in all instances the right of said stations to broadcast accounts of significant or newsworthy events and views on matters of public interest.

        (b) All contracts for advertising in any newspaper, magazine, periodical or any form of publication promoting or opposing the candidacy of any person for public office shall, before its implementation, be registered by said newspaper, magazine, periodical or publication with the Commission. In every case, it shall be signed by the candidate concerned or by the duly authorized representative of the political party.

        (c) No franchise or permit to operate a radio or television station shall be granted or issued, suspended or cancelled during the election period.

        Any radio or television stations, including that owned or controlled by the Government, shall give free of charge equal time and prominence to an accredited political party or its candidates if it gives free of charge air time to an accredited political party or its candidates for political purposes.

        In all instances, the Commission shall supervise the use and employment of press, radio and television facilities so as to give candidates equal opportunities under equal circumstances to make known their qualifications and their stand on public issues within the limits set forth in this Code on election spending."

        Section 261 (dd-5)

        "Prohibition against discrimination in the sale of air time. - Any person who operates a radio or television station who without justifiable cause discriminates against any political party, coalition or aggroupment of parties or any candidate in the sale of air time. In addition to the penalty prescribed herein, such refusal shall constitute a ground for cancellation or revocation of the franchise."

        THE FAIR ELECTIONS ACT “Sec. 6. Equal Access to Media Time and Space. - All registered parties and bona fide candidates have equal access to media time and space. The following guidelines may be amplified on by the COMELEC: 6.2. (a) Each bona fide candidate or registered political party for a nationally elective office shall be entitled to not more than one hundred twenty (120) minutes of television advertisement and one hundred eighty (180) minutes of radio advertisement whether by purchase or donation.

        For this purpose, the COMELEC shall require any broadcast station or entity to submit to the COMELEC a copy of its broadcast logs and certificates of performance for the review and verification of the frequency, date, time and duration of advertisements broadcast for any candidate or political party.

        6.3. All mass media entities shall furnish the COMELEC with a copy of all contracts for advertising, promoting or opposing any political party or the candidacy of any person for public office within five (5) days after its signing. In every case, it shall be signed by the donor, the candidate concerned or by the duly authorized representative of the political party.

        “Sec. 11. Rates for Political Propaganda. - During the election period, media outlets shall charge registered political parties and bona fide candidates a discounted rate of thirty percent (30%) for television, twenty percent (20%) for radio and ten percent (10%) for print over the average rates charged during the first three quarters of the calendar year preceding the elections.”

        COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 9615 (CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES) “SECTION 9. Requirements and/or Limitations on the Use of Election Propaganda through Mass Media. - All parties and bona fide candidates shall have equal access to media time and space for their election propaganda during the campaign period subject to the following requirements and/or limitations…”

        “SECTION 15. Rates for Political Propaganda. - During the election period, media outlets shall charge parties and bona fide candidates a discounted rate for their election propaganda over the average rates charged during the first three (3) quarters of the calendar year preceding the elections, as follows: a. For television - Thirty percent (30%); b. For radio - Twenty percent (20%); c. For print - Ten percent (10%)”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]) Article X, Section 86 and Article XII, Section 261 (dd-f), Dec. 3, 1985. http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        Said law can also be found on this link: http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/bataspam/bp1985/bp8811985.html

        THE FAIR ELECTIONS ACT (REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9006), Feb. 12, 2001, Sections 11, 6.2, and 6.3, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/OtherElectionLaws/RA9006

        Said law can also be found on this link: http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2001/ra90062001.html

        COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 9615 RULES AND REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9006, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE "FAIR ELECTION ACT", IN CONNECTION TO THE 13 MAY 2013 NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS, AND SUBSEQUENT ELECTIONS. SECTION 9. Requirements and/or Limitations on the Use of Election Propaganda through Mass Media, and SECTION 15. Rates for Political Propaganda. Promulgated Jan. 15, 2013

        http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9615

        Said rules can also be found on this link: http://comelec.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/comelec-resolution-no-9615/

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        All TV stations are required by law to give a 30 percent discount and all radio stations, a 20 percent discount, over the average rates charged during the first three quarters of the year preceding the elections (Republic Act 9006, Section 11). This rule applies during the 90-day campaign period for national candidates and political parties, as well as party-list groups.

        The same law also requires all media entities to submit to Comelec copies of their advertising contracts (Section 6.3). TV and radio stations meanwhile, are required to submit to Comelec copies of their broadcast logs and certificates of performance for political advertising (Section 6.2).

        Liberal Party General Counsel Raul A. Daza says that they had not received any reported incidents regarding the denial by TV and radio networks of advertisements being placed by the Liberal Party in the 2013 elections (Daza, Aug. 26, 2014).

        Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim likewise says that the Comelec has not received any complaints from candidates and political parties about unequitable access to subsidized airtime in the 2013 elections. According to Lim, it would be counterproductive for media agencies not to give airtime for the advertisement of any candidate or political party, as these mean revenues for them.

        The discounts and reporting requirements by media entities only apply during the 90-day official campaign period. However, more moneyed candidates and political parties begin buying spots and airing advertisements even before the start of the campaign period (de la Cruz, Dec. 15, 2012; Cayabyab, Jan. 17, 2013). According to TV network executives, such early advertisers are also given discounts even if the ads fall outside the campaign period covered by the mandatory 30 percent discount. Such candidates are treated just like their regular or ‘preferred’ clients who are given discounts, at times as low as 50 percent off the published ad rates (de los Reyes, June 13, 2013; Ilagan, July 18, 2013). However, there is currently no mechanism to monitor such transactions between candidates and media networks.

        Nevertheless, even if discounts or subsidies are applied equally for all actors during the campaign period, less-moneyed candidates might still be at a disadvantage compared to their moneyed rivals who can book and buy ad spots early on and in bulk. This is because TV networks tend to give preferential treatment to clients who purchase ad spots in bulk.

        In fact, senatorial candidate Antonio Trillanes IV said in a letter to PCIJ that he was able to get discounted rates for his campaign advertisements because "the ad agencies and/or media buyers he hired had secured these discounts because they booked ad spots in advance or procured a volume of ad spots" (Ilagan, July 17, 2013).

        Political strategist Malou Tiquia observes: “Less moneyed candidates who are only able to buy ads piecemeal, will continue to be bumped off the prime commercial spots by candidates who have already booked and paid for ads in bulk” (de los Reyes, June 13, 2013).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The researcher's comment is validated. After scanning media reports, indeed, there have been no report of parties or candidates denied of subsidized access to media. However, Atty. Mimi Banayat of Akbayan Party-List (the staff responsible for the placement of Akbayan ads during the 2013 campaigns) shared that there is no way for them to know if they were given a discounted rate. One, they were not explicitly informed by the media outfits that the rate they were given was the discounted rate. Two, there is no way for them to compare because they did not make ad placements before and after the campaign period.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014.

        Raul A. Daza, General Counsel, Liberal Party, interview answers received via email Aug. 26, 2014.

        Comelec: Premature campaigning not an offense, excluded from expense limits, Marc Jayson Cayabyab, GMA News, Jan. 17, 2013, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/290757/news/nation/comelec-premature-campaigning-not-an-offense-excluded-from-expense-limits

        THE ‘AIR WAR’ FOR VOTES IN MAY 2013: Without SC TRO, 9 Senate bets, Buhay liable for breaching TV ads airtime cap, Che de los Reyes, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, JUNE 13, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/without-sc-tro-9-senate-bets-buhay-liable-for-breaching-tv-ads-airtime-cap/

        Expense reports of Senate bets do not match sums of pol ads, Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 17, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/expense-reports-of-senate-bets-do-not-match-sums-of-pol-ads/

        Pre-campaign ad blast, Che de los Reyes, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, June 13, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/pre-campaign-ad-blast/

        17 Senate bets, parties splurge P446M on ‘pre-campaign ads’, Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 18, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/17-senate-bets-parties-splurge-p446m-on-pre-campaign-ads/

        Pre-campaign ads unfair, says senatorial bet, Kathlyn de la Cruz, ABS-CBNNews.com, Dec. 15, 2012, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/12/15/12/pre-campaign-ads-unfair-says-senatorial-bet

        THE FAIR ELECTIONS ACT (REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9006), Feb. 12, 2001, Sections 11 and http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/OtherElectionLaws/RA9006

        Said law can also be found on this link: http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2001/ra90062001.html

        Reviewer's sources: Mimi Banayat, Media Staff, Akbayan-Party-list, Written interview conducted October 22, 2014.

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

    More about category
    composite
    57
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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
      More about category
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        9
        Score
        NO
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        10
        Score
        YES
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        The law requires all contributors to make the contribution in their own name.

        It also requires all candidates, treasurers, and political parties to record the name of the contributor when contributions are received.

        The law also requires all contributors to report to Comelec, under oath, all contributions it has made to any candidate, political party, or party-list group within 30 days after the election.

        The above applies to all types of election, and to all candidates, political parties, and party-list groups.

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE ARTICLE XI. ELECTORAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES “Sec. 98. True name of contributor required. - No person shall make any contribution in any name except his own nor shall any candidate or treasurer of a political party receive a contribution or enter or record the same in any name other than that of the person by whom it was actually made. Sec. 99. Report of contributions. - Every person giving contributions to any candidate, treasurer of the party, or authorized representative of such candidate or treasurer shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election, file with the Commission a report under oath stating the amount of each contribution, the name of the candidate, agent of the candidate or political party receiving the contribution, and the date of the contribution.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]), Dec. 3, 1985. Article XI: Electoral Contributions and Expenditures. Sections 98 and 99.

        http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.U8pK3vmSxec

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        11
        Score
        YES
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        The term “contribution,” as defined in the Omnibus Election Code, encompasses a wide array of forms in which contributions can be made. Aside from cash, contributions cover a promise or agreement, and the use of facilities that are donated by other persons. The law further states that such donations of services should be assessed based on prevailing rates in the area.

        The Omnibus Election Code also requires all donors to report under oath, all contributions made to any candidate, political party (through the party treasurer), or any representative of the candidate or party, within 30 days after the elections.

        Therefore, such reports shall also include in-kind donations based on the lawful definition of the term ‘contributions’.

        The Synchronized Election Law, meanwhile, stipulates that all cash and in-kind contributions reported to the Comelec are exempt from tax. It also states that all candidates and political parties must submit to the Comelec “the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.”

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE ARTICLE XI. Sec. 94 (a) “The term "contribution" includes a gift, donation, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value, or a contract, promise or agreement to contribute, whether or not legally enforceable, made for the purpose of influencing the results of the elections but shall not include services rendered without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time in behalf of a candidate or political party. It shall also include the use of facilities voluntarily donated by other persons, the money value of which can be assessed based on the rates prevailing in the area.”

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE ARTICLE XI. Section. 99. "Report of contributions. - Every person giving contributions to any candidate, treasurer of the party, or authorized representative of such candidate or treasurer shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election, file with the Commission a report under oath stating the amount of each contribution, the name of the candidate, agent of the candidate or political party receiving the contribution, and the date of the contribution."

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, THE SYNCHRONIZED ELECTION LAW, SECTION 13 PARAGRAPH 4 Sec. 13. “Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding any contribution in cash or in kind to any candidate or political party or coalition of parties for campaign purposes, duly reported to the Commission shall not be subject to the payment of any gift tax.”

        Sec. 14. “Statement of Contributions and Expenditures; Effect of Failure to File Statement. - Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]), Dec. 3, 1985. Article XI Sections 94 (a) and 99.

        http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        can also be found on this link: http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.U8pK3vmSxec

        Republic Act No. 7166, An Act Providing For Synchronized National And Local Elections And For Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, And For Other Purposes, Sections 13 and 14, November 26, 1991 http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

        can also be found on this link: http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno7166.htm#.U9PTPfmSzUU Section 13 Paragraph 4

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        12
        Score
        YES
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        The Omnibus Election Code’s definition of the term electoral “contribution” includes “loan” and the “promise or agreement to contribute, whether or not legally enforceable” (Section 94 (a)). The definition of the term “expenditure” meanwhile, includes the “promise or agreement to make an expenditure” (Section 94 (b)). In this regard, loans incurred by, or extended to, candidates and political parties, should be itemized in their Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures, which they are required to submit to the Commission on Elections 30 days after the elections (OEC Section 107 and Republic Act 7166 Section 14).

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE
        Section 94. “Definitions. - As used in this Article: (a) The term "contribution" includes a gift, donation, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value, or a contract, promise or agreement to contribute, whether or not legally enforceable, made for the purpose of influencing the results of the elections but shall not include services rendered without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time in behalf of a candidate or political party. It shall also include the use of facilities voluntarily donated by other persons, the money value of which can be assessed based on the rates prevailing in the area. (b) The term "expenditure" includes the payment or delivery of money of anything of value, or a contract, promise or agreement to make an expenditure, for the purpose of influencing the results of the election. It shall also include the use of facilities personally owned by the candidate, the money value of the use of which can be assessed based on the rates prevailing in the area.”

        Section 107 “Statement of contributions and expenditures. - Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, not later than seven days, or earlier than ten days before the day of the election, file in duplicate with the office indicated in the following section, full, true and itemized, statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election. Within thirty days after the day of the election, said candidate and treasurer shall also file in duplicate a supplemental statement of all contribution and expenditures not included in the statement filed prior to the day of the election.”

        REPUBLIC ACT 7166, Section 14 “Statement of Contributions and Expenditures; Effect of Failure to File Statement. - Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]), Dec. 3, 1985, Section 94 and 107, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        can also be found on this link: http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.U8pK3vmSxec

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” Nov. 26, 1991, Section 14, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
      More about category
      • expand button!
        13
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        There is no limit provided by law on how much a person can contribute to an individual candidate or political party. However, the law prohibits certain individuals from making campaign contributions to individual candidates or political parties. They are as follows: 1. Persons operating a public utility or in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation e.g. owners of mining firms 2. Government contractors and subcontractors; 3. Individuals who have been granted franchises or similar privileges or concessions by the government such as transport operators or owners of telecommunication companies; 4. Individuals who have been granted by government loans above PhP100,000 (USD2,290.25) within one year prior to the date of elections. 5. Officials and employees in the Civil Service, or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and 6. Foreigners.

        Solicitation and receipt of campaign funds from the above individual donors are also prohibited by law.

        These regulations cover all types of elections, from national to local.

        Omnibus Election Code, Article XI, Section 95 “Sec. 95. Prohibited contributions. - No contribution for purposes of partisan political activity shall be made directly or indirectly by any of the following:

        (a) Public or private financial institutions: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall prevent the making of any loan to a candidate or political party by any such public or private financial institutions legally in the business of lending money, and that the loan is made in accordance with laws and regulations and in the ordinary course of business;

        (b) Natural and juridical persons operating a public utility or in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation;

        (c) Natural and juridical persons who hold contracts or sub-contracts to supply the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities, with goods or services or to perform construction or other works;

        (d) Natural and juridical persons who have been granted franchises, incentives, exemptions, allocations or similar privileges or concessions by the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations;

        (e) Natural and juridical persons who, within one year prior to the date of the election, have been granted loans or other accommodations in excess of P100,000 by the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities including government-owned or controlled corporations;

        (f) Educational institutions which have received grants of public funds amounting to no less than P100,000.00;

        (g) Officials or employees in the Civil Service, or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and

        (h) Foreigners and foreign corporations.

        It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit or receive any contribution from any of the persons or entities enumerated herein.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]) Article XI: Electoral Contributions and Expenditures. Section 95: Prohibited Contributions, Dec. 3, 1985. http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        the same law can be viewed here

        http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.U8pK3vmSxec

        COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 or the "Rules and Regulations Governing Campaign Finance and Disclosure in Connection with the 13 May 2013 National Elections and Subsequent Elections Thereafter," Jan. 15, 2013 Rule 3: Contributions and Raising of Funds Section 5: Prohibited Contributions

        http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9476

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        14
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        In the Philippines, corporations are allowed to make campaign contributions to any candidate, political party, or party list group. There is no limit provided by law on how much corporations can contribute to an individual candidate or political party. However, the law prohibits certain corporations and entities from making campaign contributions to individual candidates, party-list groups, or political parties. They are as follows: 1. Public or private financial institutions, except for loans granted to candidates and political parties in the ordinary course of business 2. Corporations operating a public utility or in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation e.g. mining firms, power producers 3. Government contractors and subcontractors; 4. Corporations who have been granted franchises or similar privileges or concessions by the government such as transport operators or telecommunication companies; 5. Corporations who have been granted by government loans above PhP100,000 (USD2,290.25) within one year prior to the date of elections. 6. Educational institutions that have received public grants amounting to PhP100,000 (USD2,290.25) and higher 7. Foreign corporations.

        Solicitation and receipt of campaign funds from the above corporate donors are also prohibited by law.

        The law covers all types of elections, both national and local.

        LAW: The Omnibus Election Code or Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (National Law No. 881) enacted Dec. 3, 1985

        Relevant passages: Article XI “Sec. 95. Prohibited contributions. - No contribution for purposes of partisan political activity shall be made directly or indirectly by any of the following:

        (a) Public or private financial institutions: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall prevent the making of any loan to a candidate or political party by any such public or private financial institutions legally in the business of lending money, and that the loan is made in accordance with laws and regulations and in the ordinary course of business;

        (b) Natural and juridical persons operating a public utility or in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation;

        (c) Natural and juridical persons who hold contracts or sub-contracts to supply the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities, with goods or services or to perform construction or other works;

        (d) Natural and juridical persons who have been granted franchises, incentives, exemptions, allocations or similar privileges or concessions by the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations;

        (e) Natural and juridical persons who, within one year prior to the date of the election, have been granted loans or other accommodations in excess of P100,000 by the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities including government-owned or controlled corporations;

        (f) Educational institutions which have received grants of public funds amounting to no less than P100,000.00;

        (g) Officials or employees in the Civil Service, or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and

        (h) Foreigners and foreign corporations.

        It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit or receive any contribution from any of the persons or entities enumerated herein.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]) Article XI: Electoral Contributions and Expenditures. Section 95: Prohibited Contributions, Dec. 3, 1985. http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.U8pK3vmSxec

        COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 or the "Rules and Regulations Governing Campaign Finance and Disclosure in Connection with the 13 May 2013 National Elections and Subsequent Elections Thereafter," Jan. 15, 2013 Rule 3: Contributions and Raising of Funds Section 5: Prohibited Contributions

        http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9476

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        15
        Score
        YES
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        The law specifically prohibits foreign individuals and corporations from making campaign contributions to individual candidates and political parties. The law also specifically prohibits any individual, political party, or any private or public entity, from soliciting or receiving aid or contribution of any kind for electoral purposes, whether directly or indirectly.

        The Omnibus Election Code Article XI “Sec. 95. Prohibited contributions. - No contribution for purposes of partisan political activity shall be made directly or indirectly by any of the following: (...) (h) Foreigners and foreign corporations.

        “Sec. 96. Soliciting or receiving contributions from foreign sources. - It shall be unlawful for any person, including a political party or public or private entity to solicit or receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or contribution of whatever form or nature from any foreign national, government or entity for the purposes of influencing the results of the election.”

        The above passages are reiterated in COMELEC Resolution No. 9476, Rule 3, Sections 5 and 6.

        “Section 6. Prohibited solicitations or receiving of contributions. - No person or entity, public or private, shall solicit, or receive, directly or indirectly: a. Any contribution for purposes of partisan political activity, from any of the persons or entities enumerated in the immediately preceding section; [OEC, Sec. 95] b. Any aid or contribution of whatever form or nature from any foreign national, government or entity for the purpose of influencing the results of the elections”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]), Dec. 3, 1985. Article XI: Electoral Contributions and Expenditures. Section 95: Prohibited Contributions Sec. 96. Soliciting or receiving contributions from foreign sources

        http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.U8pK3vmSxec

        COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 or the "Rules and Regulations Governing Campaign Finance and Disclosure in Connection with the 13 May 2013 National Elections and Subsequent Elections Thereafter," Jan. 15, 2013 Rule 3: Contributions and Raising of Funds Section 5: Prohibited Contributions Section 6: Prohibited solicitations or receiving of contributions

        http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9476

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        16
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        17
        Score
        YES
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        The law clearly states the maximum amount that candidates running for different positions, political parties, and party-list groups can spend for their campaigns.

        Candidates for President and Vice President can spend a maximum of PhP10 (USD 0.23) per registered voter while all other candidates can spend up to PhP3 (USD 0.07) per registered voter in the constituency where the candidate is running.

        The law provides a higher spending ceiling for independent candidates for senator down to lower positions – PhP5 (USD 0.11) per registered voter in the constituency where such candidate is running.

        Political parties (including party-list groups) meanwhile, can spend PhP5 for every registered voter in the constituency where it has candidates.

        According to the Comelec, a total of 52,745,861 voters – including overseas absentee voters -- registered for the May 13, 2013 elections.

        For the 2013 elections therefore, a candidate for senator who is running under a political party was allowed to spend up to PhP158,237,583 (USD 3.65 million) and an independent candidate, PhP263,729,305 (USD 0.68 million)

        The limit applies to the campaign period, which is 90 days for national candidates, political parties, and party-list groups, and 45 days for local candidates.

        Republic Act No. 7166, The Synchronized Election Law. “Sec. 13. Authorized Expenses of Candidates and Political Parties. - The agreement amount that a candidate or registered political party may spend for election campaign shall be as follows: (a) For candidates. - Ten pesos (P10.00) for President and Vice-President; and for other candidates Three Pesos (P3.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That a candidate without any political party and without support from any political party may be allowed to spend Five Pesos (P5.00) for every such voter; and (b) For political parties. - Five pesos (P5.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates.”

        THE ABOVE PASSAGES ARE REITERATED IN COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 9476, CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES RULE 4: EXPENDITURES Section 1. Authorized expenses of candidates and parties. - The aggregate amount that a candidate or party may spend for an election campaign shall be as follows: a. President and Vice-President ---Ten Pesos (PhP 10.00) for every registered voter. b. For other candidates --- Three Pesos (PhP 3.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where the candidate filed his certificate of candidacy. c. Candidate without any political party and without support from any political party -- Five Pesos (PhP 5.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where the candidate filed his certificate of candidacy; and d. Political parties and partylist groups --- Five Pesos (PhP 5.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates. [RA 7166, Section 13, Paragraphs 2 and 3]”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Republic Act No. 7166, An Act Providing For Synchronized National And Local Elections And For Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, And For Other Purposes, Section 13, November 26, 1991 http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

        can also be found on this link: http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno7166.htm#.U9PTPfmSzUU

        COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 or the "Rules and Regulations Governing Campaign Finance and Disclosure in Connection with the 13 May 2013 National Elections and Subsequent Elections Thereafter," Rule 4, Section 1.a.- 1.d., Jan. 15, 2013 http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9476

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        18
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        There is no distinction between the national level and sub-national levels of government insofar as the applicability of the laws governing campaign finance is concerned.

        In particular, the same prohibitions on illegal forms of campaign activities and fundraising, and campaign expenditure limits apply at all levels of government.

        Republic Act 7166 set a shorter campaign period for local candidates (candidates for member of the House of Representatives, and elective provincial, city and municipal officials) at 45 days before the elections compared to the 90-day campaign period for national candidates (candidates for president, vice-president and senator) (Section 5).

        Expenditure limits meanwhile, are fixed based on the number of voters in the jurisdiction where the candidate is running.

        Section 13 of the RA 7166 fixed the campaign expenditure limits as follows: “1. For candidates. - Ten pesos (P10.00) for President and Vice-President; and for other candidates Three Pesos (P3.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That a candidate without any political party and without support from any political party may be allowed to spend Five Pesos (P5.00) for every such voter; and 2. For political parties. - Five pesos (P5.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates.” Based on this law, a candidate for senator will have the same PhP 3 (USD 0.07) per voter campaign spending limit as a candidate running for mayor. The difference in total allowable campaign spending amount lies on the number of registered voters in the constituency, as a senatorial candidate’s spending limit will be multiplied by the total number of registered voters in the country while that of a mayor will be multiplied by the number of registered voters in the town or city in which he is running.

        This fixed formula for determining the spending cap is seen as problematic by the sources interviewed. They all say that the expenditure limits are outdated and unrealistic, especially for local candidates. For Lim and Ona, the unrealistic campaign spending cap just encourages candidates to lie and circumvent the law (Lim July 28, 2014; Guia, July 23, 2014; Ona, July 31, 2014; Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        This view is echoed by political parties, politicians, and even the leaders of Comelec themselves (Panti, Dec. 13, 2013; PCIJ, Oct. 10, 2012; Bernal, June 26, 2013). In fact, just months before the 2013 elections, the National Treasurer of the ruling Liberal Party has said publicly that “based on his experience, not even half of the election spending and contribution reports submitted by candidates to the Comelec are truthful” (PCIJ, Oct. 10, 2012).

        The law that set the spending caps was enacted in 1991, more than two decades ago, when prices of commodities, including those used for campaigns, were relatively lower.

        Because of inflation, the spending cap per voter has become unrealistic for local candidates to mount an effective campaign. For instance, a candidate for mayor in Quezon City, the biggest (in terms of land area) and most populous city in the National Capital Region, can only spend PhP 3 million (USD 68,783) as the city only has 1.08 million registered voters – which is less than half of its 2.76 million residents (Malte, May 8, 2013). That amount will not be enough for a mayoralty candidate to produce campaign paraphernalia and mount campaign sorties and public rallies – to name just a few campaign cost items -- because of the huge ground that has to be covered.

        Casiple even says that the spending cap is already too small even for a candidate for senator. However, he does not support the idea of having a law that makes a distinction between national candidates and local candidates because this could very well turn into class legislation, i.e., a law that makes distinctions between classes.

        For Guia, there are several options that could be explored for adjusting the campaign spending limits. An option that Guia thinks is worth exploring is making the formula for computing campaign expenditure limits more flexible. Such formula can be based on the prevailing consumer price index at the time of the electoral campaign period, says Guia. Other sectors meanwhile think that the campaign spending limits should be raised to a fixed amount (Panti, Dec. 13, 2013; Interaksyon.com, Oct. 10, 2012).


        Peer reviewer comment:

        Agree - The same election laws apply to sub-national units in the Philippines. The only time there might be a difference is once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed, which will create a " juridical entity" called Bangsamoro. As per stipulated in the draft BBL (House bill No. 4944, Section 9), a Bangsamoro Electoral Office shall be created to perform the functions of the Commission on Elections in the Bangsamoro. "All rules and regulations governing Bangsamoro elections and plebiscites shall emanate from the Bangsamoro Electoral Office."

        Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law House bill no. 4944, Section 9

        .... There is hereby created a Bangsamoro Electoral Office which shall be a part of the Commission on Elections, and which shall perform the functions of the Commission on Elections in the Bangsamoro. The Bangsamoro Parliament shall submit a list of three (3) recommendees to the President, who shall choose and appoint from among them the Director General, who shall head the Office. In addition to enforcing national election laws in the Bangsamoro Electoral Code enacted by Parliament in the Bangsamoro, and shall perform the following functions:

        ... 4. Prepare rules and regulations for Bangsamoro elections and plebiscites, for the promulgation of the Commission on Elections. All rules and regulations governing Bangsamoro elections and plebiscites shall emanate from the Bangsamoro Electoral Office.

        Note that the proposed Bangsamoro Law has not been passed by Congress yet, hence the Bangsamoro Electoral Office as currently proposed might still change if ever the bill will be passed into law.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014.

        Luie Tito F. Guia, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 23, 2014.

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2014.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        House seeks increase in local poll campaign expenditure, Llanesca Panti, The Manila Times, Dec. 13, 2013, http://www.manilatimes.net/house-seeks-increase-in-local-poll-campaign-expenditure/60364/

        ‘Few candidates truthful about election spending,’ Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Oct. 10, 2012, http://pcij.org/blog/2012/10/10/few-candidates-truthful-about-election-spending

        Money legally spent on voters should go up by nearly seven times, Liberal Party treasurer says, Interaksyon.com, http://www.interaksyon.com/article/45205/money-legally-spent-on-voters-should-go-up-by-nearly-seven-times-liberal-party-treasurer-says, Oct. 10, 2012

        ‘PH needs realistic election spending cap,’ Buena Bernal, Rappler.com, June 26, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/32235-philippines-campaign-spending-cap

        Quezon City: Local government as source of succor, Lavilyn Hysthea Malte, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, May 8, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/local-government-as-source-of-succor/

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” Nov. 26, 1991, Sections 5 and 13, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

        Reviewer's sources: JLP-Law. Published 30 Sept 2014. http://jlp-law.com/blog/bangsamoro-basic-law-house-bill-no-4994-full-text/

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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        In the 2013 elections, the preponderance of campaign funding came from contributions from individual donors and from the personal money of the candidates. At least, that is what “appears on paper,” or on the Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) that candidates and political parties filed with the Comelec, says Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, head of the Campaign Finance Steering Committee (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        Liberal Party General Counsel Raul A. Daza meanwhile says that the Liberal Party’s sole sources of campaign funds are campaign contributions and donations (Daza, Aug. 26, 2014).

        An investigative report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism revealed that over 2,100 persons and just 73 corporate donors contributed funds to most of the 33 senatorial candidates and their political parties in the 2013 elections (Mangahas and Ilagan, July 10, 2013). Of this, contributions from the candidates’ relatives and money from the candidates’ personal funds accounted for a third of the total spending by the senatorial candidates and their political parties (Mangahas and Ilagan, July 11, 2013).

        The PCIJ report further revealed: “The 12 candidates for senator who won and their national political parties have reported that they raised P1.53 billion (USD 34,947,510) in donations and incurred P1.67 billion (USD 38,145,322) in expenses.

        “Of this, 11 of the 12 new senators said their relatives and immediate family members donated a total of P305.5 million (USD 6,978,081). Eight of the winners said they spent another P159.5 million (USD 3,643,221) of their own money. If these reported figures are true and accurate, P465 million (USD 10,621,302) or a fourth of the total P1.98 billion (USD 45,226,189.80) that all the 33 senatorial candidates and their parties told the Commission on Elections (Comelec) they raised from individual and corporate donors last May came from family money and personal funds,” (Mangahas and Ilagan, July 11, 2013; “Donations from Individuals, by Source,” PCIJ, July 11, 2013).

        Based on her SOCE, winning senatorial candidate Cynthia Villar, for instance, declared 98 percent of her total campaign expenditures as coming from her personal funds, and only two percent from contributions (Villar’s SOCE, Annex F, June 21, 2013).

        Five candidates for senator, in fact, had run their respective campaigns entirely on personal funds, having declared zero contributions in their SOCEs (“Running on Personal Funds,” PCIJ, July 11, 2013).

        Because political parties are not required by law to disclose their businesses, Lim says the Comelec does not have information on any businesses or trusts owned by political parties, if there were any. Lim however says that political parties raise funds from individual donations as well, both from private individuals and from their member-politicians. Political parties have also donated to some of the candidates under their roster (Lim, July 28, 2013).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - On sources of campaign funds by political parties, a study conducted by the Political Democracy and Reforms (PODER) of the Ateneo School of Government has this to say:

        “The mainstream parties rely on their member-politicians for financing, which is affecting their autonomy. This is more obvious with the Nacionalista Party, which was known to depend on Party President Manuel Villar’s largesse. Funding for non-mainstream parties is also a problem, which they address by collaborating with affiliate NGOs and networks. This, however, is not without problems because of lack of consistency and problems on sustainability.

        Collecting membership fee is proven to be ineffective in all the parties, though they all tried to implement it. From among the mainstream parties, the Liberal Party is somehow successful in getting support and contributions from their politician members. It was able to make arrangements with the salary system of its elected members in Congress where contributions are automatically deducted. However, the efficiency of this scheme is still unknown. Lakas collects fees from members occupying national seats while the local chapters are left to collect fees from their local members, but oftentimes, collection is hardly enforced.

        Akbayan largely relies on its local chapters to implement their own schemes in charging and collecting dues, but the collected fees are hardly substantial to fund party operations. The Bayan Muna by-laws prescribe a minimal annual membership due determined according to financial capacity of its members, which are to be collected from the local chapters. However, this is not strictly enforced as well.”

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014.

        Raul A. Daza, General Counsel, Liberal Party, interview answers received via email Aug. 26, 2014.

        ELECTIONS A FAMILY BUSINESS: P465-M donations from kin, own money sent 11 to Senate, Malou Mangahas and Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, JULY 11, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/p465-m-donations-from-kin-own-money-sent-11-to-senate/

        CORPORATE HARA-KIRI IN MAY 2013: Firms in the red, gov’t contractors top donors of Senate bets, parties, Malou Mangahas and Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 10, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/firms-in-the-red-govt-contractors-top-donors-of-senate-bets-parties/

        Statement of Contributions and Expenditures of Cynthia Villar (Annex F of the SOCE), June 21, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/SENATORIAL/Villar_Cynthia/F.pdf

        Donations from Individuals, by Source, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 11, 2013, http://pcij.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PCIJ-Table-1.-ELECTIONS-A-FAMILY-BUSINESS.png

        Running on Personal Funds, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 11, 2013, http://pcij.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PCIJ-Table-4.-RUNNING-ON-PERSONAL-FUNDS.png

        Aceron, Joy. Philippines, "Party-Less No More? (Emerging Practices of Party Politics in the Philippines)," in Sachsenroeder, Wolfgang. Party Politics in Southeast Asia. 2013.

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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        Based on Comelec data, interviews with sources from the Campaign Finance Unit, and media reports, a number of candidates and contributors appear to have violated expenditure limits and tried to circumvent regulations on contributions.

        On May 21, 2014, the Comelec promulgated a landmark decision disqualifying a candidate for governor for overspending.

        In June 2013, gubernatorial candidate E.R. Ejercito was charged with campaign overspending by his closest political rival. The election protest was filed before the Comelec prior to Ejercito’s official proclamation as the winning candidate for governor of Laguna in the May 2013 elections.

        In September 2013, the Comelec’s First Division issued a decision to disqualify Ejercito. The decision was based on Comelec’s audit of Ejercito’s campaign contribution and spending report, and verification of said document with the advertising contracts submitted by TV networks that aired Ejercito’s political ads (Gamara, Sept. 26, 2013).

        The decision by the Comelec First Division was unanimously affirmed by the Comelec en banc on May 21, 2014 (Legaspi and Fernandez, May 21, 2014). This decision was deemed executory, thus Ejercito was asked to vacate his post immediately. After a stand-off lasting for several days when Ejercito refused to step down, he finally vacated his seat on May 30, 2014 (Locsin, May 30, 2014). He was replaced by the Vice Governor.

        Comelec’s decision on Ejercito was lauded by several sectors as it is the first case in the country when an official was actually forced to step down because of violation of campaign finance rules (Go, May 28, 2014).

        As of this writing, Comelec Campaign Finance Unit head Commissioner Christian Robert Lim says that based on the CFU’s audit, Comelec is preparing complaints to be filed against a number of national candidates for overspending. Lim says that Comelec is just making sure that there are no loopholes in the law that said candidates can use to evade conviction.

        Meanwhile, a PCIJ review of two sets of documents submitted to the Comelec— the SOCEs and advertising contracts — reveals incomparable amounts. “Of those who purchased ads during the campaign, majority or 19 of the 28 senatorial candidates and four of the seven political parties reported bigger values in their SOCEs compared to the figures derived from the advertising contracts themselves. The differences in amounts ranged from a few hundreds of thousands of pesos to tens of millions of pesos, the PCIJ report said (Ilagan, July 17, 2013).

        It added, “Three winning senatorial candidates, five losing candidates, and three political parties reported a lower amount in their SOCE than the total contract cost derived from the advertising contracts submitted by media entities to Comelec” (Ilagan, July 17, 2013).

        A PCIJ report on the contributions enrolled by national candidates and political parties in the reports they submitted to Comelec also reveals that a number of prohibited donors – such as government contractors and mining firms – were able to make campaign contributions to candidates and parties in the 2013 elections. However, they were able to make use of a gray area in the law, because on paper, it was the owner of the company and not the company itself who made the donation (Mangahas and Ilagan, July 10, 2013; Lingao et al, Sept. 30, 2013; Edz V. dela Cruz, Sept. 30, 2013).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - On 14 October 2014, media reported 69 candidates who will be subject for further investigation on account of overspending in the 2010 and 2013 elections. The list includes an incumbent senator, Sen. JV Ejercito. The others are mayoral candidates Darell Dela Flor (Belison, Antique); Ernesto Pablo Jr. (Rizal, Occidental Mindoro); Rudy Alvarez (Palanas, Masbate); Juditas Trinidad (Iguig, Cagayan); Jose Norella Jr. (Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro); Arsenio Agustin (Marcos, Ilocos Norte) and Archimedes Sales (Pozorrubio, Pangasinan). Also in the list are congressional candidates Ralph Lantion (Nueva Vizcaya); Narzal Mallares (Antique); Justinian Licnachan (Ifugao); Maria Blanca Lokin (2nd district, Pangasinan); Wilfredo Estorninos (2nd district, Samar); Orlando Fua (Siquijor) and Grace Sumalpong (Siquijor). Also charged were gubernatorial candidates Herminia Ramiro (Misamis Occidental); Carlos Valdez Jr. (Sultan Kudarat); Manuel Montarde (Catanduanes); Harry Meso (Dinagat Islands) and Carlos Diasnes (Batanes); Sangguniang Bayan candidates Ephraim Gianan (Virac, Catanduanes) Quirino Esguerra Jr. (2nd district, Zamboanga Sibugay); and vice mayoral candidates Ferdinand Trinidad (Iguig, Cagayan), and Cesar Tria (Magsaysay, Occidental Mindanao).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interviewed July 28, 2014

        “Overspending to Victory: Comelec rules to disqualify ER Ejercito as Laguna governor,” Miguel Gamara, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Sept. 26, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/comelec-rules-to-disqualify-er-ejercito-as-laguna-gov/

        Commission on Elections, SPA no. 13-306 (DC), San Luis versus Ejercito, Sept. 26, 2013, http://comelec.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/spa-no-13-306dc.pdf

        “Comelec disqualifies Laguna Gov. Ejercito for campaign overspending,” Amita O. Legaspi and Amanda Fernandez, GMA News, May 21, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/361954/news/nation/comelec-disqualifies-laguna-gov-ejercito-for-campaign-overspending

        “Disqualified Gov. ER Ejercito leaves post temporarily upon Erap’s advice,” Joel Locsin with Amita Legaspi, GMA News, May 30, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/363371/news/regions/disqualified-gov-er-ejercito-leaves-post-temporarily-upon-erap-s-advice

        “SC asks Comelec to comment on ER Ejercito’s plea vs. disqualification,” Mark Meruenas, GMA News May 27, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/362906/news/nation/sc-asks-comelec-to-comment-on-er-ejercito-s-plea-vs-disqualification

        “Lawyer lauds Comelec's ousting of ER Ejercito,” Kimberly Go, Solar News, May 28, 2014 http://www.solarnews.ph/news/2014/05/28/lawyer-lauds-comelec-s-ousting-of-er-ejercito

        Expense reports of Senate bets do not match sums of pol ads, Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 17, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/expense-reports-of-senate-bets-do-not-match-sums-of-pol-ads/

        P2.28-B SPENT IN MAY 2013 ELECTIONS: Expense reports of Senate bets do not match sums of pol ads, Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, JULY 17, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/expense-reports-of-senate-bets-do-not-match-sums-of-pol-ads/

        CORPORATE HARA-KIRI IN MAY 2013: Firms in the red, gov’t contractors top donors of Senate bets, parties, Malou Mangahas and Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 10, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/firms-in-the-red-govt-contractors-top-donors-of-senate-bets-parties/

        MONEY POLITICS & THE MAY 2013 ELECTIONS: Top execs of barred firms funded Senate bets, parties, Ed Lingao, Cong B. Corrales, and Edz V. dela Cruz, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, SEPTEMBER 30, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/top-execs-of-barred-firms-funded-senate-bets-parties/

        Elections: Money + Power, Edz V. dela Cruz, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, SEPTEMBER 30, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/elections-money-power/

        MONEY POLITICS & THE MAY 2013 ELECTIONS: Poll laws in limbo: Firms can’t donate but owners bankroll bets, Ed Lingao, Cong B. Corrales, and Edz V. dela Cruz, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Oct. 1, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/poll-laws-in-limbo-firms-cant-donate-but-owners-bankroll-bets/

        Reviewer's sources: Sheila Crisostomo, Abs-Cbn New.com. JV, 68 poll bets face raps for overspending. Published 14 Oct 2014. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/10/14/14/jv-68-poll-bets-face-raps-overspending.

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        The law requires all candidates and political parties to report itemized contributions and expenditures only once, and the report covers only the contributions received and expenditures made during the 90-day campaign period, not outside it.

        Republic Act No. 7166 states that all candidates and political parties (through the party treasurer) are required to submit their “full, true, and itemized” Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures to the Commission on Elections within 30 days after the elections (Section 14).

        However, an individual is only considered a “candidate” at the start of the campaign period (Republic Act No. 9369 Section 13), which is 90 days for national candidates (President, Vice-President, Senator, including Party-List groups) (Republic Act No. 7166 Section 5).

        The Supreme Court decision on the case of Penera vs. Comelec has also clarified the issue of when a person is considered a “candidate.”

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, THE SYNCHRONIZED ELECTIONS LAW “Sec. 14. Statement of Contributions and Expenditures; Effect of Failure to File Statement. - Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election. No person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required.”

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9369 Section 13: "For this purpose, the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition of registration/manifestation to participate in the election. Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall effect only upon that start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided, finally, That any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the armed forces, and officers, and employees in government-owned or-controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso factor resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certification of candidacy.

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, THE SYNCHRONIZED ELECTIONS LAW Section 5: “The campaign periods are hereby fixed as follows: (a) For President, Vice-President and Senators, ninety (90) days before the day of the election; and (b) For Members of the House of Representatives and elective provincial, city and municipal officials, forty-five (45) days before the day of the election.”

        PENERA VS COMELEC, G.R. NO. 181613, NOV. 25, 2009, “Congress has laid down the law — a candidate is liable for election offenses only upon the start of the campaign period. This Court has no power to ignore the clear and express mandate of the law that “any person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the filing] period shall only be considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy.” Neither can this Court turn a blind eye to the express and clear language of the law that “any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” Nov. 26, 1991, Sections 5 and 14, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

        REPUBLIC ACT 9369, “AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8436, ENTITLED "AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM IN THE MAY 11, 1998 NATIONAL OR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND IN SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTORAL EXERCISES, TO ENCOURAGE TRANSPARENCY, CREDIBILITY, FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY OF ELECTIONS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881, AS AMENDED, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166 AND OTHER RELATED ELECTIONS LAWS, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," Jan. 23, 2007, Section 13, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/AutomatedElection/RA9369

        Penera vs Comelec, G.R. No. 181613, Nov. 25, 2009, http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2009/november2009/181613.htm

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        The law requires all candidates and political parties – whether winning or losing -- to submit their spending and contribution reports only once: 30 days after the elections. The report should cover all contributions received and expenditures made over the 90-day campaign period. They are thus required to report only once in a quarter.

        Republic Act No. 7166 states that all candidates and political parties (through the party treasurer) are required to submit their “full, true, and itemized” Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures to the Commission on Elections within 30 days after the elections (Section 14).

        It should be noted that before RA 7166 was enacted, candidates and political parties were required by the Omnibus Election Code to submit contribution and expense reports twice: a report one week before the elections, and another one 30 days after the elections (Section 107). This provision however, was repealed by RA 7166.

        Moreover, the report covers only contributions and expenditures made by the candidate and political party during the campaign period. This is because of the way the term “candidate” is defined in the law.

        The Omnibus Election Code defines the term “candidate” as any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office, who has filed a certificate of candidacy…” (Section 79).

        Moreover, Republic Act No. 9369 states that "Any person who files his certificate of candidacy [within the period of filing] shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy.” And that “unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall effect only upon that start of the aforesaid campaign period” (Section 13).

        Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7166 has fixed the campaign period at 90 days before election day for national candidates (President, Vice-President, Senator, including Party-List groups).

        The Supreme Court decision on the case of Penera vs. Comelec has also clarified this issue.

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, THE SYNCHRONIZED ELECTIONS LAW “Sec. 14. Statement of Contributions and Expenditures; Effect of Failure to File Statement. - Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.

        No person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required.”

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE, BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881: “Sec. 107. Statement of contributions and expenditures. - Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, not later than seven days, or earlier than ten days before the day of the election, file in duplicate with the office indicated in the following section, full, true and itemized, statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.

        Within thirty days after the day of the election, said candidate and treasurer shall also file in duplicate a supplemental statement of all contribution and expenditures not included in the statement filed prior to the day of the election.”

        Section 79: “The term ‘candidate’ refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office, who has filed a certificate of candidacy by himself or through an accredited political party, aggroupment, or coalition of parties”

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9369 Section 13: "For this purpose, the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition of registration/manifestation to participate in the election. Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall effect only upon that start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided, finally, That any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the armed forces, and officers, and employees in government-owned or-controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso factor resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certification of candidacy.

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, THE SYNCHRONIZED ELECTIONS LAW Section 5: “The campaign periods are hereby fixed as follows: (a) For President, Vice-President and Senators, ninety (90) days before the day of the election; and (b) For Members of the House of Representatives and elective provincial, city and municipal officials, forty-five (45) days before the day of the election.”

        PENERA VS COMELEC, G.R. NO. 181613, NOV. 25, 2009, “Congress has laid down the law — a candidate is liable for election offenses only upon the start of the campaign period. This Court has no power to ignore the clear and express mandate of the law that “any person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the filing] period shall only be considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy.” Neither can this Court turn a blind eye to the express and clear language of the law that “any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]), Dec. 3, 1985, Section 107, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        can also be found on this link: http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.U8pK3vmSxec

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” Nov. 26, 1991, Sections 5 and 14, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

        REPUBLIC ACT 9369, “AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8436, ENTITLED "AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM IN THE MAY 11, 1998 NATIONAL OR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND IN SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTORAL EXERCISES, TO ENCOURAGE TRANSPARENCY, CREDIBILITY, FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY OF ELECTIONS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881, AS AMENDED, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166 AND OTHER RELATED ELECTIONS LAWS, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," Jan. 23, 2007, Section 13, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/AutomatedElection/RA9369

        Penera vs Comelec, G.R. No. 181613, Nov. 25, 2009, http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2009/november2009/181613.htm

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        Score
        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        24
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        25
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        National candidates, political parties, and party-list groups report their itemized statements of election contributions and expenditures to Comelec only once, within thirty days after the elections, as required by law. The report covers only the 90-day campaign period for national candidates, or a quarter.

        At the national level, the reports that the Comelec Campaign Finance Unit had received for the 2013 elections are “generally itemized,” according to Comelec Commissioner Robert Christian Lim, Chair of the Comelec Steering Committee on Campaign Finance (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        Per the Campaign Finance Rules (COMELEC Resolution No. 9476), all candidates, political parties, and party-list groups were required to submit the following to the COMELEC as part of their SOCE within 30 days after the elections: Annex A: Report of Contributions Annex B: Authority to lncur Election Expenditures Annex C: Notice of Public Rally Annex D: Statement of Expenses on Public Rally Annex E: Summary Report of Advertising Contracts Annex F: Statement of Election Contributions & Expenditures Annex G: Schedule of Contributions Received Annex H: Schedule of Expenditures Annex H-1: Summary Report of Expenditures Annex l: Schedule of Unpaid Obligations Annex J: Report of Contractors & Business Firms

        The CF Rules also prescribed the format and the level of detail with which the above reports should be completed and submitted. For the contributions received, Comelec's format requires candidates and political parties to indicate the date when the contribution was made, the contributor's full name, address, taxpayer's identification number, and the amount of contribution.

        As for the expenditures, Comelec's format requires all candidates and political parties to include the date when the expenditure was made, the official receipt or invoice number, the payee's full name, address and taxpayer's identification number, the nature of the expenditure, and the amount.

        A sampling of the SOCEs and Annexes that could be downloaded from the Comelec website reveals that the expenditures and contribution reports that candidates and political parties submitted to Comelec are itemized.

        An example is senatorial candidate Grace Poe’s Schedule of Contributions Received, or Annex G of her SOCE. Poe listed the individual donors who have contributed to her campaign, as well as their names, addresses, taxpayer’s identification no., the date when the contribution was made, the type of contribution (cash or in kind) and the corresponding amount or value (Poe’s SOCE, Annex G). These details were required by Comelec in the reporting format it required all candidates and political parties to submit as part of the SOCE.

        Annex H of Poe’s SOCE meanwhile, contains a list of all expenditures that Poe incurred for her campaign, including the date when the expenditure was made, the official receipt number, the full name, address and tax identification number of the payee, the nature of the expense, and the amount of the expense (Poe’s SOCE, Annex H).

        Another example is the Liberal Party’s Annex G of the SOCE, which itemizes the contributions that the party had received in the course of the campaign, and Annex H, which itemizes all expenditures it made during the campaign in the format prescribed by Comelec (Liberal Party’s SOCE, Annex G and Annex H).

        In fact, Liberal Party General Counsel Raul Daza says that the Liberal Party had been “religious” in complying with campaign financing laws and accurately reporting campaign contributions and expenses. Daza also says that the SOCEs of the Liberal Party and that of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III are among the “most detailed and specific” (Daza, Aug. 26, 2014).

        Note, however, that Ms. Wee-Lozada at Comelec reports that there are “some” national candidates, political parties and party-list groups that have incomplete campaign finance submissions.

        The latest figures given by Comelec for national and local candidates, covering May – December 2014 are as follows:

        7,028 - failed to file 1,059 - candidates sent notices to settle late penalty and/or correct minor deficiencies 331 - candidates who responded to the notices 115 - pending certificates of compliance to be issued 959 - election overspending candidates being reviewed PhP 8,103,939.00 - late penalty collected so far


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Within 30 days after the elections, parties and candidates are supposed to file their Statement of Contribution and Expenditure (SOCE). Yet, more than a year has passed since the deadline (June 2013), the SOCE filed in Comelec was still incomplete. According to a report submitted by the new Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) Head, Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan, to Chair Sixto Brillantes dated 5 June 2013, 1,387 candidates in the 2007 and 2010 elections did not file their SOCE. Atty. Rafanan shared in the interview that letters have been sent to those who have yet to file their SOCE. New deadline was set, 12 May 2014, to give leeway to those who have yet to comply.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014.

        Raul A. Daza, General Counsel, Liberal Party, interview answers received via email Aug. 26, 2014.

        Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, Attorney IV, Office of Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, Commission on Elections, Dec. 17, 2014, explanation received via email.

        Grace Poe’s SOCE, Annex G, Schedule of Contributions Received, date of receipt by Comelec: June 17, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/SENATORIAL/Poe_Grace/G.pdf

        Grace Poe’s SOCE, Annex H, Schedule of Expenditures, date of receipt by Comelec: June 17, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/SENATORIAL/Poe_Grace/H.pdf

        Liberal Party’s SOCE, Annex G, Schedule of Contributions Received, date of receipt by Comelec: June 13, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/POLITICALPARTY/LIBERALPARTY/G.pdf

        Liberal Party’s SOCE, Annex H, Schedule of Expenditures, date of receipt by Comelec: June 13, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/POLITICALPARTY/LIBERALPARTY/H.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Ferdinand Rafanan, Head, Campaign Finance Unit/ Director IV, Planning Department, Commission on Elections, interview conducted October 15, 2014

        Memorandum 14-0115 dated June 5, 2014. Date: June 5, 2014.

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        25
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        In the 2013 elections, candidates and political parties have included in their Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) both cash and in-kind contributions that they have received, such as campaign paraphernalia, T-Shirts, etc. as well as the estimated value (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        Candidates are also required to file, as attachments to the SOCE, the list of contributors, which include the true name of the person contributing the money to a candidate or political party,

        An example is no. 1 senatorial bet Grace Poe’s Schedule of Contributions Received, or Annex G of her SOCE. This document enrolls the full names of Poe’s contributors, their addresses, and their taxpayer’s ID numbers as well as the date when the contributions were made. The document also details the type of contribution (whether cash or in kind), and the amount of contribution if cash, or if in kind, the value of the contribution.

        The same is true for the Liberal Party’s Schedule of Contributions Received, or Annex G of the SOCE, which lists, for instance, “lights and sound system," and its corresponding value among the in kind contributions.

        In fact, Liberal Party General Counsel Raul Daza says that the SOCEs of the Liberal Party and that of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III are among the “most detailed and specific” and that the Liberal Party had been “religious” in complying with campaign financing laws and “accurately reporting campaign contributions and expenses.” (Daza, Aug. 26, 2014).

        While it's true that not all the required annexes have to date been posted on the Comelect website, a sampling of the available Annexes G – Schedule of Contributions Received -- reveal that these indeed include itemized lists of contributions that the candidates received, as well as the donors’ names, addresses, and tax identification numbers There are some annexes of some candidates that are not available online because not all annexes are intended for the candidates to submit to the campaign finance unit, says Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, staff of Commissioner Christian Robert Lim. To be considered compliant with the reporting requirement, Wee-Lozada said that a candidate should at the minimum, file Annex F (SOCE) even if no political contributions were received or any expenditures made.

        The other Annexes, such as Annex G (Schedule of Contributions Received), Annex H (Schedule of Expenditures) and Annex H-1 (Summary Report of Expenditures) are required only if a candidate accepted political contributions (in cash and in kind) and expended the funds or utilized the in-kind contributions. In addition, they should also submit a copy of the receipts they issued to their contributors as well as invoices or receipts of their expenditures. Annex E is supposed to be submitted by media entities to our Education and Information Department (EID). Annex C and D are usually submitted to the field offices by candidates who conduct public rallies.

        If their initial submissions were deficient or incomplete, they must submit the missing documents and settle the corresponding late penalty for their subsequent submissions to be deemed as having completely filed their SOCEs.

        In instances however where missing annexes have been submitted after the initial deadline, but within the extended 30 June 2014 deadline, these have not yet been scanned and uploaded. As soon as these are processed, they will be uploaded to the COMELEC website, Wee-Lozada said.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014.

        Raul A. Daza, General Counsel, Liberal Party, interview answers received via email Aug. 26, 2014.

        Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, Attorney IV, Office of Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, Commission on Elections, explanation received via email on Aug. 5 and Dec. 17, 2014.

        Grace Poe’s SOCE, Annex G, Schedule of Contributions Received, date of receipt by Comelec: June 17, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/SENATORIAL/Poe_Grace/G.pdf

        Liberal Party’s SOCE, Annex G, Schedule of Contributions Received, date of receipt by Comelec: June 13, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/POLITICALPARTY/LIBERALPARTY/G.pdf.

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
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        26
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        There is no law specifically pertaining to public access to political finance information. However, political finance information, specifically the campaign spending and contribution reports filed by all candidates, political parties, and party-list groups to the Commission on Elections, are considered public records and are thus covered by the “right of the people to information,” which is recognized by the Constitution (Article III Section 7) and the “policy of full public disclosure” of all its transactions involving public interest (Article II Section 28).

        Republic Act No. 6713 meanwhile, enumerates the duties of public officials and employees, among which is to “make documents accessible to, and readily available for inspection by, the public” (Section 5(e)).

        Its implementing rules and regulations lays down the parameters for acting on such requests for information, which is no more than “15 working days from receipt of the request or petition” (Rule VI Section 1). There is no mention however, on the format of the information to be given.

        Note: The Philippines has no Freedom of Information law. Several bills on freedom of information had been filed in every Congress since 1988, soon after democracy was restored. However, as of this writing, Congress has yet to pass an FOI law.

        THE 1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION
        “Article III, Section 7. “The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.”

        Article II Section 28. “Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.”

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6713, SECTION 5 (E) “Duties of Public Officials and Employees. - In the performance of their duties, all public officials and employees are under obligation to … Make documents accessible to the public. - All public documents must be made accessible to, and readily available for inspection by, the public within reasonable working hours.”

        RULES IMPLEMENTING THE CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES, Rule VI “Duties of Public Officials and Employees

        Section 1. As a general rule, when a request or petition, whether written or verbal, can be disposed of promptly and expeditiously the official and employee in charge to whom the same is presented shall do so immediately, without discrimination, and in no case beyond fifteen (15) working days from receipt of the request or petition.

        Section 2. In departments, offices or agencies that are usually swamped with persons calling for a particular type of service, the head of the department, office or agency shall devise a mechanism so as to avoid long queues, such as by giving each person a ticket number duly countersigned which shall specify the time and the date when the person, whose name and address shall be indicated, can be served without delay. Said person shall have the right to prompt service upon presentation of said ticket number.

        Section 3. In case of written requests, petitions or motions, sent by means of letters, telegrams, or the like, the official or employee in charge shall act on the same within fifteen (15) working days from receipt thereof, provided that:

        (b) If the communication is within the jurisdiction of the office or agency, the official and employee must:

        (1) Write a note or letter of acknowledgement where the matter is merely routinary or the action desired may be acted upon in the ordinary course of business of the department, office or agency, specifying the date when the matter will be disposed of and the name of the official or employee in charge thereof.

        (2) Where the matter is non-routinary or the issues involved are not simple or ordinary, write a note or letter of acknowledgement, informing the interested party, petitioner or correspondent of the action to be taken or when such requests, petitions or motions can be acted upon. Where there is a need to submit additional information, requirements, or documents, the note or letter of acknowledgement shall so state, specifying a reasonable period of time within which they should be submitted, and the name of the particular official or employee in charge thereof. When all the documents or requirements have been submitted to the satisfaction of the department or office or agency concerned, the particular official or employee in charge shall inform the interested party, petitioner, or correspondent of the action to be taken and when such action or disposition can be expected, barring unforeseen circumstances.

        (c) If communication is outside its jurisdiction, the official or employee must:

        (1) Refer the letter, petition, telegram, or verbal request to the proper department, office or agency.

        (2) Acknowledge the communication by means of a note or letter, informing the interested party, petitioner, correspondent of the action taken and attaching a copy of the letter of the letter of referral to the proper department, office or agency.

        The department, office or agency to which the letter, petition, telegram or verbal request was referred for appropriate action must take action in accordance with subsection (a), pars. 1 and 2 hereof.

        The period of fifteen (15) working days herein provided shall be counted from the date of receipt of the written or verbal communication by the department, office or agency concerned.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, October 15, 1986, Article II Section 28 and Article III Section 7, http://www.lawphil.net/consti/cons1987.html

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6713, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, Feb. 20, 1989, SECTION 5 (E), http://excell.csc.gov.ph/cscweb/RA6713.html

        Rules Implementing the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, April 21, 1989, Rule VI, Sections 1-3, http://excell.csc.gov.ph/cscweb/RA6713b.html

        Also available here: http://www.dole.gov.ph/files/IRR%206713.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Scanned copies of the political finance reports of individual candidates, party-list groups, and political parties in the 2013 elections can be downloaded from the Commission on Elections website. These reports are officially called the Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE). The files are in PDF format.

        (All candidates, political parties, and party-list groups are required by law to submit the SOCE within 30 days after the elections.)

        The reports were made available online on Sept. 18, 2013, or four months after the May 13, 2013 elections, and three months after the deadline of filing of the SOCEs. Comelec updated the page on May 20, 2014. According to a member of the Comelec's Campaign Finance team, all the SOCEs that were submitted after the original deadline (as Comelec extended the deadline for filing of SOCEs) will all be processed, scanned, and uploaded as well.

        The COMELEC had prescribed a specific format for the SOCEs for the 2013 elections because of the highly uneven formats and levels of detail of SOCEs that the COMELEC had received in previous elections. There are some annexes of some national candidates that are not available online because not all annexes are intended for the candidates to submit to the campaign finance unit, says Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, staff of Commissioner Christian Robert Lim. To be considered compliant with the reporting requirement, Wee-Lozada said that a candidate should at the minimum, file Annex F (SOCE) even if no political contributions were received or any expenditures made.

        Per the Campaign Finance Rules (COMELEC Resolution No. 9476), all candidates, political parties, and party-list groups were required to submit the following to the COMELEC as part of their SOCE within 30 days after the elections: Annex A: Report of Contributions Annex B: Authority to lncur Election Expenditures Annex C: Notice of Public Rally Annex D: Statement of Expenses on Public Rally Annex E: Summary Report of Advertising Contracts Annex F: Statement of Election Contributions & Expenditures Annex G: Schedule of Contributions Received Annex H: Schedule of Expenditures Annex H-1: Summary Report of Expenditures Annex l: Schedule of Unpaid Obligations Annex J: Report of Contractors & Business Firms

        The CF Rules also prescribed the format in which the above reports should be completed and submitted.

        Aside from these annexes, the Comelec had also made available online scanned copies (pdf files) of the receipts supporting the expenditures that the above entities had submitted.

        This is the first time that the COMELEC has made the effort to closely monitor the submission of SOCEs by all candidates, party-list groups, and political parties. As such, this is the most comprehensive recording of political finance information that the COMELEC has had thus far. This is also the first time that the COMELEC has made all the SOCEs that it had received available online.

        A scan of the SOCEs available online however, reveals that the information available is not uniform for all the candidates and political parties. The SOCE annexes of many of the national candidates are also missing and incomplete. For example, of the 33 candidates who ran for senator in the 2013 elections, less than half, or 15 candidates, had all the annexes to the SOCE available online.

        According to lawyer Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, a member of the Comelec team that monitored compliance with campaign finance rules in the 2013 elections, this is because the latest submissions have not been uploaded yet because the Comelec extended the deadline for filing the SOCEs. Comelec is finishing the processing of all submissions first before these can be uploaded (Wee-Lozada, August 5, 2014).

        Under Republic Act No. 7166, all candidates and political parties should file their SOCEs within 30 days after the elections. For the May 13, 2013 elections, the deadline was supposed to be June 13, 2013.

        However, because of “numerous requests for extension from the candidates and political groups,” the Comelec had extended the deadline for filing of SOCEs a number of times. Earlier, the Comelec announced that the new deadline for filing was May 12, 2014 (Manila Bulletin, Feb. 16, 2014). Then on May 15, 2014, the Comelec again moved the deadline for filing and correcting deficiencies in the SOCEs already submitted. The new deadline given was June 30, 2014, or more than a year after the deadline set in law (Crisostomo, May 17, 2014).

        During the elections and immediately after the deadline of filing of the SOCEs however, the campaign finance documents were not yet available online. Besides the SOCEs, which should be submitted by candidates and parties to Comelec within 30 days after the elections, other political finance documents are required by law to be submitted to Comelec. These include political advertising contracts, which should be submitted by media entities at preset deadlines within the campaign period. The advertising contracts are supposed to facilitate the tracking of campaign spending by candidates and political parties during the 90-day campaign period. These should also help assist in checking the veracity of the spending reports that candidates and political parties enroll in their SOCE after the elections.

        During the campaign period, journalists who were writing about campaign contributions, campaign spending, and political ad spending had to file requests for documents with the ad hoc campaign finance unit at the time. If the documents were already available (meaning, the candidates, political parties or TV networks had already submitted such documents to the Comelec), these were given by the Comelec within the day to the requester.

        During the time, the documents were provided in hard copy. In the case of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, which filed an omnibus or blanket request for campaign finance documents submitted by all candidates and political parties (which it would be using for stories it was doing at the time), the Comelec requested the PCIJ to bring its own paper and for the PCIJ staff members to photocopy the documents themselves, using the photocopier of the Comelec. This is due to the volume of documents being requested by PCIJ, and the fact the ad hoc campaign finance unit was undermanned, having no dedicated staff. Comelec did not charge any fees to PCIJ for the use of its photocopier.

        A couple of months after the elections, when the PCIJ had completed its portfolio of campaign finance stories, the organization had again filed a blanket request for all documents that the Comelec had on campaign finance. The data would be used for PCIJ’s MoneyPolitics online database. This time, the campaign finance unit provided scanned copies of the files in pdf. PCIJ was asked to provide an external hard drive, in which the files were transferred by Comelec staff.

        Ilagan says that while the cost of accessing such documents during the election period was not necessarily prohibitive for a regular citizen, the effort and transportation cost of going to the Comelec office in Manila might discourage a citizen from requesting for such a document.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree Though SOCEs for the 2013 elections are now available online, this is not yet the complete set of SOCEs. Also, given that there are still citizens with no internet access, obtaining the information for them would take more time. Since it is the first time that SOCEs are uploaded online, the same level of accessibility was obviously not present in the previous elections. For CSOs like the Consortium for Electoral Reform (CER), accessibility of campaign finance information in 2010 was facilitated by the Legal Department.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Karol Anne Ilagan, Research Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, interview conducted July 22, 2014.

        Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, Attorney IV, Office of Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, Commission on Elections, Aug. 5, 2014, explanation received via email.

        Downloadable Statements of Contribution and Expenditures of Candidates, Party-List Groups, and Political Parties, 2013 National and Local Elections (NLE), Commission on Elections http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/SOCE

        Campaign finance data from the Data Journalism project, MoneyPolitics: A Citizen’s Guide to Elections, Public Funds, and Governance in the Philippines, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, http://moneypolitics.pcij.org/campaign-finance/

        “Serious, furious,” Che de los Reyes, Training Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, June 13, 2013 http://pcij.org/stories/serious-furious/

        This same article appeared on ABS CBN News online http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/06/13/13/serious-furious-comelec

        “Expense reports of Senate bets do not match sums of pol ads,” Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 17, 2013 http://pcij.org/stories/expense-reports-of-senate-bets-do-not-match-sums-of-pol-ads/ http://rp5.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/07/17/13/senate-bets-expense-reports-dont-match-ad-sums

        Did they read rules at all? 30 Senate bets, pol parties file late, bad reports http://pcij.org/stories/did-they-read-rules-at-all-30-senate-bets-pol-parties-file-late-bad-reports/

        “Comelec to go after bets who fail to file statement of contributions and expenditures twice,” Jet Villa, InterAksyon.com, June 13, 2013, http://www.interaksyon.com/article/63971/comelec-to-go-after-bets-who-fail-to-file-statement-of-contributions-and-expenditures-twice

        “Comelec extends deadline for late submission, correction of SOCEs,” Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star, May 17, 2014, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/05/17/1324082/comelec-extends-deadline-late-submission-correction-soces

        “Comelec sets May 12 SOCE filing deadline,” Manila Bulletin, Feb. 16, 2014, https://ph.news.yahoo.com/comelec-sets-may-12-soce-filing-deadline-184539723.html

        COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 or the "Rules and Regulations Governing Campaign Finance and Disclosure in Connection with the 13 May 2013 National Elections and Subsequent Elections Thereafter," Jan. 15, 2013 http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9476

        Reviewer's sources: Kristina Gadaingan, Project Officer, Consortium on Electoral Reforms, Written interview conducted October 17, 2014.

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        Financial information of all candidates and political parties are available online at the Comelec website in a standard format insofar as these follow the forms prescribed by the Comelec in Resolution No. 9476 or the Campaign Finance Rules. However, the evenness of the information available from the documents depends on the quality of data submitted by candidates and political parties to Comelec.

        Some discrepancies in the forms exist though. This is because the Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) forms that the Comelec required candidates and political parties to fill out, although downloadable from the Comelec website, were in a non-fillable pdf format, making it hard for candidates and parties to accomplish.

        Thus, some candidates and parties had to come up with their own forms in .doc format patterned after Comelec’s pdf forms. Still, some had handwritten reports submitted to Comelec.

        Because of the prescribed forms, information from the documents are also comparable insofar as lump sum amounts are concerned. The PCIJ was able to compare totals of expenses and contributions by candidates and parties.

        However, when one goes into the details of the reports, such as the breakdown of expenditures and donations, the level of detail provided by candidates and political parties are highly uneven. For example, not all candidates and parties have provided the required Tax Identification Number of their campaign contributors in their reports. Too, many candidates and political parties had missing annexes to their SOCE. This unevenness in the quality of submitted reports makes it difficult to compare the details of contributions and expenditures with one another.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources

        Interview with Karol Anne Ilagan, Research Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 22, 2014. (Face-to-face interview.)

        Downloadable Statements of Contribution and Expenditures of Candidates, Party-List Groups, and Political Parties, 2013 National and Local Elections (NLE), Commission on Elections http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/SOCE

        2013 Campaign finance data from the Data Journalism project, MoneyPolitics: A Citizen’s Guide to Elections, Public Funds, and Governance in the Philippines, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, http://moneypolitics.pcij.org/campaign-finance/

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        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        Political finance issues have gained much attention and interest from mainstream media in the 2013 elections largely because of strong pronouncements made by the highest ranking official of the Comelec – Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes Jr. -- that the Commission will strictly monitor campaign finance and enforce campaign finance laws. He started making such pronouncements as early as 2012. (One such news story on Chairman’s Brillantes’s statement prior to the campaign period is included in the sources section, even though the news story came out in 2012.)

        During the campaign period and after the elections, Brillantes and other ranking officials from Comelec would issue press releases and conduct press briefings on a periodic basis. Political finance topics during such press briefings included the issuance of the campaign finance rules, status of the campaign finance unit, and errant candidates and political parties.

        Because for the first time, the Comelec strictly monitored the submission of spending and contribution reports by all candidates and political parties in the 2013 elections, and made such reports freely available to the media, many media outlets have also used political finance data in their reporting. The depth of reports vary, with some simply reporting total figures, while others have turned big political finance data into bite-sized pieces of information, and even made infographics out of them.

        The news articles listed in the sources section represent only a fraction of media coverage of political finance as TV networks, radio stations, and print media outlets have covered the issue extensively as well.


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree, suggests a score of 75. A closer look at the media reports would indicate that only Rappler and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) have used officially published, raw financial information. The two others mainstream media outlets, ABS-CBN and GMA have only reported on announcements of Comelec regarding campaign finance without using officially published financial raw data. This is indicative of the quality and breadth of reporting on campaign finance. While campaign finance is being covered and tackled by media, the actual use of financial information to inform analysis is quite limited.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources

        Interview with Karol Anne Ilagan, Research Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 22, 2014. (Face-to-face interview.)

        “Comelec gets serious with campaign finances,” MARC JAYSON CAYABYAB, GMA News, December 27, 2013 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/341527/news/specialreports/year-ender-comelec-gets-serious-with-campaign-finances

        “Hontiveros completes list of Senate bets who filed election contributions, expenses report,” Ernie Reyes, InterAksyon.com, June 17, 2013 http://www.interaksyon.com/article/64272/hontiveros-completes-list-of-senate-bets-who-filed-election-contributions-expenses-report

        “Comelec disqualifies Laguna Gov. Ejercito for campaign overspending,” Amita O. Legaspi and Amanda Fernandez, GMA News, May 21, 2014 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/361954/news/nation/comelec-disqualifies-laguna-gov-ejercito-for-campaign-overspending

        “New senators: Who spent more per vote?” Aries Rufo, Reynaldo Santos Jr, Michael Joseph Bueza, Rappler.com, July 10, 2013 http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/33432-new-senators-who-spent-more-per-vote

        “All papers in: Jack Enrile is 2013 polls' biggest spender,” Paterno Esmaquel II, Rappler.com, June 17, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/31505-enrile-biggest-spender

        “The most poll contributions go to...” Paterno Esmaquel II, Rappler.com, June 17, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/31347-soce-poll-contributions

        “CORPORATE HARA-KIRI IN MAY 2013: Firms in the red, gov’t contractors top donors of Senate bets, parties,” Malou Mangahas and Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 10, 2013 http://pcij.org/stories/firms-in-the-red-govt-contractors-top-donors-of-senate-bets-parties/

        “MONEY POLITICS & THE MAY 2013 ELECTIONS: Top execs of barred firms funded Senate bets, parties,” Ed Lingao, Cong B. Corrales, and Edz V. dela Cruz, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, September 30, 2013 http://pcij.org/stories/top-execs-of-barred-firms-funded-senate-bets-parties/

        “MONEY POLITICS & THE MAY 2013 ELECTIONS: Poll laws in limbo: Firms can’t donate but owners bankroll bets,” by Ed Lingao, Cong B. Corrales, and Edz V. dela Cruz, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, October 1, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/poll-laws-in-limbo-firms-cant-donate-but-owners-bankroll-bets/

        “Comelec stricter on campaign finance laws,” Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com, Oct. 10, 2012 http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/10/10/12/comelec-stricter-campaign-finance-laws

        Reviewer's sources: May 13 bets told: Submit campaign finance reports (Ryan Chua, 31 May 2013). http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/05/31/13/may-13-bets-told-submit-campaign-finance-reports

        Poll bets told: No campaign finance report, can’t work (Espina Varona, 11 June 2013). http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/06/10/13/poll-bets-told-no-campaign-finance-report-cant-work

        Still no campaign finance reports from senatorial bets (Inday Espina Varona, 10 June 2013). http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/06/10/13/still-no-campaign-finance-reports-senatorial-bets

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        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        There were a lot of news reports on violations of campaign finance rules during the 2013 elections. This was largely because for the first time, the Comelec strictly monitored compliance with campaign finance rules by candidates and political parties. It also monitored the submission of spending and contribution reports by all candidates and political parties in the 2013 elections, and made such documents available to the media upon request. The Comelec also made such documents available online on September 2013.

        Because of Comelec’s vigilance, it was able to track violations and abuses of campaign finance laws more effectively than in previous elections. High-ranking officials from Comelec made periodic updates and announcements to the media on such efforts and on campaign finance rulings that it was issuing at the time. Announcements came in the form of press releases, press briefings, and media guestings. The media therefore, had a lot of material for reporting on in the 2013 elections.

        Among the violations documented in news reports are: the disqualification of winning provincial governor E.R. Ejercito because of campaign overspending (Legaspi and Fernandez, May 21, 2014); the failure of more than half of senatorial candidates to file their campaign finance reports within deadline (Villa, June 20, 2013; Reyes, June 13, 2013); and the receipt by senatorial candidates of campaign contributions from prohibited donors and from executives of corporations prohibited from making donations (Sabillo, Oct. 29, 2013; Mangahas and Ilagan, July 10, 2013; Lingao et al, Sept. 30, 2013; Lingao et al, Oct. 1, 2013).

        The news articles listed in the sources section represent only a fraction of media coverage of political finance as TV networks, radio stations, and print media outlets have covered the issue extensively as well.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In the 2010 elections, there was no Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) yet in the Comelec. According to Atty. Rafanan, this made it harder for anyone who would like to access information on campaign finance to get the information they needed, unlike today when those information are already available online. A quick scan of the news on the 2010 elections would also validate this. No report is immediately accessible indicating that Comelec has released official report on campaign finance violations in the 2010 elections. This, however, did not stop the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) to report on campaign finance violations. Through a project called Pera at Pulitika (Money and Politics), PCIJ, with support from the Consortium on Electoral Reforms (CER) and the Association of Schools of Public Administration in the Philippines (ASPA), released a book entitled Campaign Finance Reader: Money Politics and the May 2010 Elections which documented quite extensively many cases of alleged campaign finance violations. Some of the contents of this book were reported by other mainstream media like GMA7 and ABS-CBN.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Interview with Karol Anne Ilagan, Research Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 22, 2014. (Face-to-face interview.)

        “Comelec disqualifies Laguna Gov. Ejercito for campaign overspending,” Amita O. Legaspi and Amanda Fernandez, GMA News, May 21, 2014 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/361954/news/nation/comelec-disqualifies-laguna-gov-ejercito-for-campaign-overspending

        “More than half of winning Senate bets fined P1,000 daily for filing deficient poll expense reports” Jet Villa, Interaksyon.com, June 20, 2013 http://www.interaksyon.com/article/64523/more-than-half-of-winning-senate-bets-fined-p1000-daily-for-filing-deficient-poll-expense-reports

        “Only half of winning senatorial bets beat deadline for filing of financial statements,” Ernie P. Reyes, InterAksyon.com, June 13, 2013 http://www.interaksyon.com/article/64020/only-half-of-winning-senatorial-bets-beat-deadline-for-filing-of-financial-statements

        “6 senators who failed to disclose campaign expenses risk being barred from seats,” Ernie Reyes, InterAksyon.com, June 14, 2013 http://www.interaksyon.com/article/64072/6-senators-who-failed-to-disclose-campaign-expenses-risk-being-barred-from-seats

        PAPER TRAIL | Comelec checks bets' reports for traces of campaign funds from Napoles Jet Villa, Interaksyon.com, Aug. 30, 2013 http://www.interaksyon.com/article/69739/paper-trail--comelec-checks-bets-reports-for-traces-of-campaign-funds-from-napoles

        “Senators among recipients of illegal campaign donations—Brillantes,” Kristine Angeli Sabillo, INQUIRER.net, Radyo Inquirer 990AM, October 29th, 2013 http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/516847/senators-among-recipients-of-illegal-campaign-donations-brillantes

        “Comelec to go after ‘illegal’ donors,” Tina G. Santos, Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 5th, 2013 http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/501071/comelec-to-go-after-illegal-donors

        “Comelec: More to be disqualified due to overspending,” ABS-CBNnews.com, July 13, 2014 http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/07/13/14/comelec-more-be-disqualified-due-overspending

        “Expense reports of Senate bets do not match sums of pol ads,” Karol Ilagan, Philippine Cenetr for Investigative Journalism, July 17, 2013 http://pcij.org/stories/expense-reports-of-senate-bets-do-not-match-sums-of-pol-ads/

        “CORPORATE HARA-KIRI IN MAY 2013: Firms in the red, gov’t contractors top donors of Senate bets, parties,” Malou Mangahas and Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 10, 2013 http://pcij.org/stories/firms-in-the-red-govt-contractors-top-donors-of-senate-bets-parties/

        “MONEY POLITICS & THE MAY 2013 ELECTIONS: Top execs of barred firms funded Senate bets, parties,” Ed Lingao, Cong B. Corrales, and Edz V. dela Cruz, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, September 30, 2013 http://pcij.org/stories/top-execs-of-barred-firms-funded-senate-bets-parties/

        “MONEY POLITICS & THE MAY 2013 ELECTIONS: Poll laws in limbo: Firms can’t donate but owners bankroll bets,” by Ed Lingao, Cong B. Corrales, and Edz V. dela Cruz, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, October 1, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/poll-laws-in-limbo-firms-cant-donate-but-owners-bankroll-bets/

        Reviewer's sources: Ferdinand Rafanan, Head, Campaign Finance Unit/ Director IV, Planning Department, Commission on Elections, interview conducted October 15, 2014

        Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2010). Campaign Finance Reader: Money Politics and the May 2010 Elections.

        "Where did All the 2010 Election Campaign Funds Go?" GMA7, 2010. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/225197/news/nation/where-did-all-the-2010-election-campaign-funds-go

        "Only 308 donors funded campaign presidency," ABS-CBN, July 20, 2010, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/07/20/10/only-308-donors-funded-campaign-presidency

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        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        The CSO leaders interviewed for this indicator both say that vote-buying worsened during the most recent elections in 2013 compared to previous elections, both in scale and in the prices of the votes. They both attribute this phenomenon to the automated elections, which was first implemented on a nationwide scale in the 2010 presidential elections. The 2013 midterm elections was only the second time that elections in the Philippines was implemented using an automated system on a nationwide scale.

        In the pre-automated era, when the casting and counting of votes were done manually, candidates and their operators had many options of committing electoral fraud other than vote buying. Thus while vote buying was also prevalent during those days, opportunities for fraud were also available post-election day. These include substitution of accomplished ballots and fudging numbers during the counting, tallying, and transmittal of votes.

        With the advent of automation, those post-election opportunities for cheating were removed, as the counting was done by machines, and the results were transmitted directly to the COMELEC national tally center. Thus, the opportunity for candidates and their operators’ to commit fraud became largely limited to pre-elections. In the 2010 elections when automation was first implemented on a nationwide scale, candidates and their operators were still learning the ropes, so to speak. In the 2013 elections, they have already learned from their experience in 2010 and were able to prepare and strategize.

        Both lawyer Rona Ann Caritos of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) and Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) observed that the price per vote in the 2013 elections has more than doubled over 2010 prices (Caritos, July 31, 2014; Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        Caritos pegs the price for each vote at PhP3,000 (USD 69) in the 2013 elections compared to PhP1,000 (USD 23) in the 2010 elections. Casiple, meanwhile, pegs the price at PhP2,500 (USD 57) per vote in 2013 compared with just PhP500 to PhP1,000 (USD11.5 to USD 23) in 2010.

        Both LENTE and IPER have monitored the conduct of the elections on the ground in 2010 and 2013. Their observations are based on incident reports that their ground monitors have submitted to their respective organizations. The same reports of vote-buying were repeated nationwide, regardless of the area or candidate.

        Casiple also says that vote buying is usually committed by the operators of local candidates. These local candidates usually carry one or more national candidates on their slate. National candidates, he says, are more careful than local candidates about directly buying votes. National candidates would rather employ the strategy of buying off or paying local candidates to deliver the votes for them.

        He adds that in the 2013 elections, local candidates were able to raise the prices of votes because of the emergence of the “targeted negative vote buying” strategy, where a candidate, rather than buy votes on a wide scale, would just focus on the areas where his political rival has a stronghold. The candidate would then buy off his political rival’s constituents so that they would not go to the polling places to vote. The money that the candidate was able to save from this targeted approach enables him to pay much more for the votes of his rival’s supporters.

        Whereas with the manual counting undertaken in previous elections, operators could check whether voters had actually voted for their candidate, with the advent of automation, no one is able to see the result of the ballot. With targeted negative vote buying however, all the operator had to do was monitor the polling places to see if the target constituents would indeed not show up as agreed.

        The implication of this, Casiple says, is that even the “upright” candidates in 2013 were forced to buy votes just to “defend their vote base.”

        In 2013 therefore, many incidents of vote buying were reported in the media and cases filed before the Comelec. The Comelec’s First Division had already disqualified two candidates for mayor for vote buying. The case is awaiting final decision by the Comelec en banc (Legaspi, May 22, 2014).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In the 2013 elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) had undertaken various efforts to curb vote-buying, which is perceived to be rampant every elections. One of these is the “money ban” promulgated through Comelec Resolution 9688, which limits cash withdrawals to P100,000 from Wednesday, May 8, to election day, May 13. "The transportation and/or carrying of cash exceeding P500,000 or its equivalent in any foreign currency from May 8 to 13, 2013" is also banned. The same resolution contains the other effort of Comelec to curb vote-buying: allowing citizens to do a warrantless arrest.

        Resolution No. 9688 states the following: “To facilitate the apprehension and prosecution of vote buyers and sellers, any law enforcement officer or private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit the election offense of vote buying and selling,” the resolution states.

        These efforts by Comelec were all reported by media.

        In May 2014, reports came out about Comelec filing disqualification cases against two mayoralty candidates on account of vote-buying. If the case prospers, it will be the first time elected officials will be removed from office due to vote-buying.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2104.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        Comelec to decide on vote-buying charges vs. 2 Luzon mayors in next two weeks Amita O. Legaspi, GMA News, May 22, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/362201/news/nation/comelec-to-decide-on-vote-buying-charges-vs-2-luzon-mayors-in-next-two-weeks

        Comelec to decide on vote-buying complaints against 2 mayors soon, JDS, GMA News, June 1, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/363665/news/regions/comelec-to-decide-on-vote-buying-complaints-against-2-mayors-soon

        Comelec to decide on more disqualification cases, Samuel Medenilla, Manila Bulletin, May 22, 2014, http://www2.mb.com.ph/comelec-to-decide-on-more-disqualification-cases/

        2 mayors face Comelec ax for alleged vote-buying, Tina Santos, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 22, 2014, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/604471/2-mayors-face-comelec-ax-for-alleged-vote-buying

        Comelec division disqualifies Isabela mayor for vote-buying, Marc Jayson Cayabyab, GMA News, October 8, 2013, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/329906/news/regions/comelec-division-disqualifies-isabela-mayor-for-vote-buying

        Official, 2 others face vote-buying case, Bong Garcia, SunStar Zamboanga, May 15, 2013, http://www.sunstar.com.ph/zamboanga/local-news/2013/05/15/official-2-others-face-vote-buying-case-282426

        4 cases of vote buying filed with Comelec Cordillera, Liza Agoot, Business Mirror, May 29, 2013, http://businessmirror.com.ph/~businfk5/index.php/en/news/regions/14180-4-cases-of-vote-buying-filed-with-comelec-cordillera

        Cases of vote-buying reported nationwide, Inquirer Luzon, Inquirer Mindanao, Inquirer Visayas, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 14, 2013, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/408453/cases-of-vote-buying-reported-nationwide

        Vote buying reports increase, arrests are low, Rappler.com, May 13, 2013 http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/29090-vote-buying-increase-arrests-low

        Pimentel: Comelec stats don't reflect realities of vote buying, Bea Cupin, Rappler.com, Feb. 18, 2014, http://www.rappler.com/nation/50836-senate-hearing-vote-buying-elections

        PNP: 53 cases of election violations in a day, Rappler.com, May 14, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/29149-pnp-53-cases-of-election-violations-in-a-day

        Braganza 'jails' Espino allies for alleged vote-buying, Carmela Fonbuena, Rappler.com, May 13, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/29044-braganza-jails-npc-supporters-vote-buying

        Police nabs 4 people for vote buying in Dipolog, Mindanews, May 9 2013, http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2013/05/09/police-nabs-4-people-for-vote-buying-in-dipolog/

        Cops get ‘gifts’ from S. Leyte bets, Pia Ranada, Rappler.com, May 11, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/28829-police-get-gifts-from-local-bets-s-leyte

        Cop exposes vote buying in Southern Leyte, Voltaire Tupaz, Rappler.com, May 19, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/29526-policeman-exposes-vote-buying-in-southern-leyte

        Reviewer's sources: Comelect Resolution Number 9688 - Money Ban. 2013. https://www.scribd.com/doc/139912064/Comelec-Resolution-No-9688-Money-Ban

        "Comelect Vote Buying Withdrawals," Rappler, 2013. http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/28383-comelec-vote-buying-withdrawals

        "Warrantless Arrest Vote Buyers/Sellers," Rappler, 2013. http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/28410-warrantless-arrest-vote-buyers-sellers

        "Mayors face Comelec ax for alleged vote buying," Inquirer, 2013. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/604471/2-mayors-face-comelec-ax-for-alleged-vote-buying

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        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        All three CSO representatives interviewed for this indicator say that their work in the 2013 elections did not focus on campaign finance. They have merely discussed campaign finance regulations – for instance, which acts are prohibited and how citizens can monitor these – among the many election issues they discussed in the course of their voter education campaigns.

        In particular, the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms’ work during the most recent elections involved monitoring the elections in general, and election violence in particular, says its executive director Ramon Casiple (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        Meanwhile, Rona Ann Caritos says that in the last elections, the work of the organization that she heads, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections, involved a public information drive on campaign finance. The focus is on the expenditure limits and prohibited acts, and what candidates and voters could do. In particular, she says that LENTE called on candidates to submit their SOCE within the deadline set by the Comelec. She also says that LENTE’s education work also focused on vote buying because one of the organization’s advocacies was on minimizing election offenses. However, LENTE did not go as far as to utilize campaign finance data published by the Comelec (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        Like LENTE, the Transparency and Accountability Network’s work in the last elections focused on the prevention of vote buying, particularly in its work in the province of Abra in the northern part of the country.

        According to Reylynne de la Paz, research and advocacy officer of TAN, while her organization did not use campaign finance data for its work in the last elections, TAN made it a point to discuss campaign finance issues with voters, particularly those that have to do with violation of campaign finance rules. De la Paz says that her impression is that the campaign finance data published by the Comelec were not utilized by civil society organizations as much as the media made use of such published campaign finance data (de la Paz, Aug. 18, 2014).

        Note, however, that in the 2010 elections, multiple CSO's used official political finance data in their work. In 2010, as part of the Pera't Pulitika (Money and Politics) Consortium, PCIJ focused on campaign finance monitoring at the national level, specifically on political ads (air war) while CER focused on campaigns on ground (ground war). ASPAP did not particularly use published campaign finance data; its work focused on developing teaching modules on campaign finance for schools of public administration. Another member of the consortium is LIBERTAS or the Lawyer's League for Liberty, which focused on legal reforms.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2014.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        Reylynne de la Paz, Research and Advocacy Officer/Communications Specialist, Transparency and Accountability Network, phone interview conducted Aug. 18, 2014.

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        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        According to the sources interviewed, there were no laws enacted in the past 10 years that had a major impact on political finance.

        It is the issuance of Comelec Resolution No. 9476, or the Campaign Finance Rules, on Jan. 15, 2014 that had a great impact on campaign finance enforcement and monitoring, says Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia and Liberal Party General Counsel Raul A. Daza. The Rules paved the way for the creation of a Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) within Comelec, which would focus on campaign finance monitoring and enforcement – a task that theretofore was relegated to Comelec’s Law Department, and Education and Information Department (on top of said departments’ multitude of other tasks) (Guia, July 23, 2014; Daza, Aug. 26, 2014).

        The CFU was tasked not only to determine compliance by the candidates, parties, contributors, and election contractors, but also to coordinate with other departments for prosecution of violators, collection of fines, and imposition of perpetual disqualification. The CFU was created with the objective to "increase Comelec’s ability to enforce election laws on campaign spending and donations [and] minimize the detrimental effects of opaque money politics," says Comelec spokesman James Jimenez in a news report (Santos, June 27, 2012)

        In January 2013, the Comelec issued the guidelines for the implementation of the Campaign Finance Rules (Comelec Resolution 9467) and other campaign finance provisions in the law (Mangahas, Jan. 16, 2013).

        Comelec’s issuance of the Campaign Finance Rules followed a strong push by civil society groups for Comelec to take take seriously campaign finance monitoring and enforcement of laws (PCIJ, March 29, 2011).

        The creation of the CFU, says Daza, proved Comelec’s “seriousness” in strictly implementing campaign finance laws as evidenced by the “disqualification of some prominent elected politicians” (Daza, Aug. 26, 2014).

        In the legislative arena, sources interviewed for this indicator agree that a crucial reform measure is the enactment of the proposed Political Party Development Act. The bill has been pending in Congress since 2002. While the measure primarily aims to develop and strengthen, and provide state subsidies to political parties, as well as restrict political turncoatism or the "change of political party affiliation by an elected official during one's term" (as defined in the current versions of the Political Party Development Act: House Bill No. 389 and Senate Bill No. 38), the measure also proposes to regulate political finance by minimizing the management of funds by individual candidates and making political parties manage the funds instead.

        It proposes to raise campaign expenditure caps From PhP 3 (USD 0.07) per voter to PhP 20 (USD 0.46) up to PhP 50 (USD 1.14) per voter subject to adjustment by Comelec using prevailing consumer price index. It also proposes to put a cap on contributions: PhP1 million (USD 22,885) for individual donors and PhP 10 million (USD 228,859) for corporate donors.

        The measure also aims to strengthen monitoring of campaign finance, especially contributions, as the measure will require all contributions to be submitted through banks. This is expected to control the flow of contributions from illegal sources.

        Under the measure, state subsidies to political parties will be monitored by the Commission on Audit, as well as private auditors.

        The state subsidy is expected to minimize the dominance of the ruling elite political clans in the elections by providing leverage for less-moneyed political party members to campaign on an equal footing with more affluent candidates who are members of political clans.

        The penalty for violating election laws will also be raised from the current 1-6 years of imprisonment under the Omnibus Election Code, to 6-12 years’ imprisonment (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        The proposed measure traces its roots from the Political Party and Campaign Finance Reform bill, which was first filed in 2002 (Friedrich Naumann Foundation). The bill was borne out of a multi-sectoral conference in Aug. 2002, which was participated in by political parties, civil society groups, and think-tanks, among them the Institute for Policy Studies, Consortium on Electoral Reforms, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and the United Nations Development Programme.

        The conference examined the use of money in politics. Workshops were conducted to brainstorm how to improve the prevailing political party system in the country and existing laws on campaign finance (Guia, July 23, 2014).

        While the bill’s first authors in Congress were the leaders of both Houses back then – House Speaker Jose de Venecia in the House of Representatives and Senate President Edgardo Angara in the Upper Chamber, the bill failed to be passed. Over the next decade, several versions of the bill would be filed in both Chambers but it would continue to be met with opposition. The farthest that the bill was able to reach was during the previous (15th) Congress, when it reached Third Reading at the House of Representatives and was passed at the Committee level in the Senate. (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        Among the controversial provisions in the bill are those on state subsidies for political parties and the restriction on political ‘turncoatism’ (Guia, July 23, 2014). Casiple observes that it would be difficult to pass the bill under the current political system, which is characterized by patronage. Any ruling party would continue to oppose it. Members of political clans, which continue to dominate both Houses of Congress, have an inherent resistance to the strengthening of political parties, as this is expected to strengthen their current and potential rivals who are not members of political clans (Casiple, Aug, 4, 2014).

        Because some advocates observed that the provisions on campaign finance reforms are being held hostage by the opposition to provisions on political party subsidies and turncoatism, from 2007-2009, they moved to introduce smaller bills rationalizing expenditure caps (Guia, July 23, 2014).

        In the current 16th Congress, different versions of the Political Party Development Act are filed at the House of Representatives (House Bill no. 389) and the Senate (Senate Bill no. 38).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The 2009 Supreme Court decision, Peñera vs. Comelec, which defines who are considered “candidates” is a very significant decision that has great implications on political finance regulations. This, after all, significantly limits what can be regulated by election laws, including what is subject to spending cap. Ads placed before the campaigns, for example, which have been noted to be numerous in the past elections, cannot be covered. Spending after which could influence the counting cannot be regulated as well.

        The abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel system through a Supreme Court decision on 19 November 2013 is also expected to have implications on campaign finance. Several reports and studies (Kasuya, 2010 and PCIJ,) have pointed to the use of pork barrel to fund campaigns and elections. Now that the pork barrel is gone, if this will not be resurrected in the budget in another form that is prone to corruption, it is interesting if campaign spending will significantly go down.

        Electoral reform has been least of the priorities of all post-Martial Law administrations, including the present. While there has been consistent push from advocates from the civil society and reform-oriented politicians in political parties, without a solid support from the president, critical reform legislation, such as party reform and campaign finance regulation reforms, would be difficult to pass. The reason that is given to the public is the usual lack of time in the formal process of legislation. There is just too many priority pieces of legislation to be deliberated. However, in the circles of reform advocates, it is clear that one of the reasons is the quiet resistance of political dynasties and traditional politicians who will be most affected by such reforms.

        The Comelec, which is supposed to take the lead in pushing for these reforms, is doing its share supporting the efforts of advocates. But largely because of the bulk of its work, assuming a dual Constitutional mandate of electoral management and quasi-judicial functions; and due to its lack of experience in policy reform advocacy, it is easy to understand why the Comelec is constrained to devote a substantial time and resources on pushing for legislative measures that will reform the electoral system.

        There is also very low public support for such measures. This is largely because these measures hardly affect their everyday lives and because of the lack of awareness and appreciation for the importance of these measures.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        Luie Tito F. Guia, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 23, 2014

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        Raul A. Daza, General Counsel, Liberal Party, interview answers received via email Aug. 26, 2014.

        COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 or the "Rules and Regulations Governing Campaign Finance and Disclosure in Connection with the 13 May 2013 National Elections and Subsequent Elections Thereafter," Jan. 15, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9476

        COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 9616, GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS AS PROVIDED IN RESOLUTION NO. 9476 , AS AMENDED IN CONNECTION WITH THE 13 MAY 2013 NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND ALL SUBSEQUENT ELECTIONS THEREAFTER, Jan. 16, 2013, Section 7, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9616

        Comelec kickstarts plan for campaign finance unit, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, March 29, 2011, http://pcij.org/blog/2011/03/29/comelec-kickstarts-plan-for-campaign-finance-unit

        Comelec creates new unit to monitor campaign finances, Reynaldo Santos Jr, Rappler.com, June 27, 2012, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/7683-comelec-creates-new-unit-to-monitor-campaign-finances

        “Pera, Pulitika, at Eleksyon (Money, Politics, and Elections): Comelec lays down rules,” Malou Mangahas, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Jan. 16, 2013, http://pcij.org/blog/2013/01/16/pera-pulitika-at-eleksyon-comelec-lays-down-rules

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]), Dec. 3, 1985, Sections 261-264, and 98, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        can also be found on this link: http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.U8pK3vmSxec

        House Bill 389, “AN ACT STRENGTHENING THE POLITICAL PARTY SYSTEM, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” Representative Rufus Rodriguez, July 1, 2013, http://www.congress.gov.ph/download/basic_16/HB00389.pdf

        Senate Bill 38, “Political Party Development Act,” Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, July 1, 2013, http://senate.gov.ph/lisdata/1584613076!.pdf

        Casiple, Mon, “Clarifying political party reform,” Sept. 3, 2008, http://moncasiple.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/clarifying-political-party-reform/

        Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Philippine Office, “Political Parties Agree on Reform Bill,” Aug, 14, 2012, http://www.fnf.org.ph/news/fnfnews.php?id=36&article=PoliticalPartiesAgreeonReform_Bill

        Reviewer's sources: PENERA VS COMELEC, G.R. NO. 181613, NOV. 25, 2009

        Kasuya, Yoko, 2010. Presidential Bandwagon: Parties and Party Systems in the Philippines. Anvil Publishing.

        Coronel, Sheila (ed.) (1998). Pork and Other Perks. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/290757/news/nation/comelec-premature-campaigning-not-an-offense-excluded-from-expense-limits

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    Third Party Actors

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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
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        Score
        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        0
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        In the Philippines, ‘third-party actors’ are not required to directly report to Comelec any campaign contributions that they receive and the expenditures that they make. Because of this, candidates and political parties have resorted to various ways on how to reflect in their Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) the amounts that such actors infuse to the campaign, if they reflect them at all.

        The usual practice goes like this: a third-party actor raises campaign contributions for a candidate. Such an actor is usually a foundation set up precisely for that purpose.

        The foundation then ‘donates’ the funds that it has raised to the candidate or political party. Because the foundation has now become technically a campaign contributor, it will be covered by the requirement to file a ‘Report of Contributions’ to the Commission on Elections within 30 days after the elections (Omnibus Election Code Section 99). Such a report is required of all campaign contributors, and essentially attests that the contributor has donated a certain amount to a candidate or political party.

        In said report, the third-party actor is not required to disclose the individual donors from whom the campaign funds came from. Too, the report would cover only the amount that the third-party actor ‘donated’ or transferred to the candidate or party. The transferred amount may or may not be the entirety of contributions it received for the candidate.

        Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim says that, because such third-party actors are not required to directly report to Comelec the total amount of contributions they have received and from which donors, the Commission will not know the exact amount of total contributions that the third-party actor was able to raise, and from which individual contributors such donations came from (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        According to Lim, the practice is that it is the candidate or political party that submits such Report of Contributions to the Comelec, on behalf of the contributor (in this case, the third-party actor). The candidate or party submits a compilation of all Reports of Contributors for his campaign together with the candidate or party’s SOCE.

        In 2013, however, a third-party actor veered away from this usual practice of ‘donating’ campaign funds to a candidate. A foundation called “Friends of Grace Poe” transacted directly with media networks in buying political ad spots for senatorial candidate Grace Poe (Ilagan, July 22, 2014). This was discovered by the PCIJ when it was going through the political advertising contracts that the media entities were required to submit to Comelec. The name “Friends of Grace Poe” appeared in various ad contracts as the purchaser of Poe’s political ads (Ilagan, July 10, 2013).

        However, when PCIJ tried to verify this with Grace Poe’s SOCE, the name “Friends of Grace Poe” did not appear among the campaign contributors listed by Poe. The foundation also did not report to Comelec any contributions it made to Poe.

        A representative of Poe’s explained to PCIJ that the amounts paid by Friends of Grace Poe for the candidate’s political ad spots were accounted for by Poe in her SOCE under her campaign expenditures. The individual contributors who made donations to Friends of Grace Poe meanwhile, were reported by Poe in her SOCE under the contributions that she received (Ilagan, July 10, 2013).

        In the above case, the Friends of Grace Poe did not make a direct report to Comelec of any contributions it received, the amount it donated to Poe, or expenditures it made.

        The case of JV Para Sa Bayan, another third-party actor, was quite different.

        JV Para Sa Bayan is a foundation that raised funds for senatorial candidate JV Ejercito in the 2013 elections. PCIJ’s review of the advertising contracts submitted by media entities to the Comelec revealed that the foundation bought ad spots for Ejercito worth more than PhP100 million (USD 2,284,151). While Ejercito listed the foundation among the top contributors to his campaign in his SOCE, he stated that the foundation only made a cash donation amounting to PhP 43.68 million (PhP 997,717.16) or less than half the amount reflected in the ad contracts signed for by the foundation (Ilagan, July 10, 2013).

        Unlike Friends of Grace Poe, JV Para sa Bayan filed a Report of Contributions to Comelec (through JV Ejercito). In said report, the third-party actor listed the same amount of PhP 43.68 million (USD 997,717.16) as its contribution to Ejercito’s campaign (Annex A of Ejercito’s SOCE).

        JV Para sa Bayan’s spending for Ejercito’s ads would be counted against Ejercito’s expenditure limit. The huge discrepancy between the campaign contribution from JV Para sa Bayan that Ejercito reported in his SOCE, and the amount that the foundation spent for his campaign ads as reflected in the ad contracts however, presents a problem as far as counting Ejercito’s campaign expenditure limit is concerned.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014.

        Karol Anne Ilagan, Research Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, interview conducted July 22, 2014.

        “Foundations for elections,” Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 10, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/foundations-for-elections/

        Report of Contributions of JV Para sa Bayan Movement Inc., page 260, Annex A of JV Ejercito’s SOCE, date of receipt by Comelec: June 13, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/SENATORIAL/EjercitoEstradaJV/A.pdf

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        0
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Theoretically, some financial information of the third-party actor can be requested from Comelec through the ‘Report of Contributions’ that it is required to file to the Commission on Elections within 30 days after the elections (Omnibus Election Code Section 99). This report is supposed to cover the transfer of funds from the third-party actor to the candidate or political party, which would be considered ‘donations’ made by the third-party actor to the candidate or party. However, this report would cover only the amount that the third-party actor had actually turned over to the candidate or party. The Comelec remains in the dark as to how much the total amount of contributions that the third-party actor had raised for the candidate or party is, and from which individual contributors such donations came from (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        Karol Anne Ilagan of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism shared that when she was doing a story about such third-party actors in relation to the political spending of candidates and parties in the 2013 elections, she was only able to get clarifications from the third-party actors about the figures that she extracted from advertising contracts from media networks, and figures from the SOCE of candidates and political parties (Ilagan, July 22, 2014).

        In the case of “JV Para sa Bayan Movement Inc. (JV for the Nation Movement Inc.),” a group that donated to then senatorial candidate JV Ejercito (Ilagan, July 10, 2013), Ilagan says that the figures enrolled in Ejercito’s SOCE as donations from JV Para sa Bayan were in lump sum.

        The name JV Para sa Bayan Movement Inc. is listed among Ejercito’s contributors (Schedule of Contributions Received or Annex G of the SOCE) as having donated PhP43,686,740.75 (USD 996,379). However, the report gave no details as to when the contribution was made, what the nature of the contribution was, and who the individual contributors who donated to JV Para sa Bayan were (Annex G of Ejercito’s SOCE, filed with Comelec June 13, 2013).

        The amount also did not match the total amount in advertising spots purchased by JV Para sa Bayan as donations to Ejercito -- as reflected in the advertising contracts submitted by the networks to Comelec and computed by the PCIJ (Ilagan, July 17, 2013).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014 Karol Anne Ilagan, Research Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, interview conducted July 22, 2014.

        “Foundations for elections,” Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 10, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/foundations-for-elections/

        Schedule of Contributions Received or Annex G of the SOCE of JV Ejercito, filed with Comelec June 13, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/SENATORIAL/EjercitoEstradaJV/G.pdf

        “Expense reports of Senate bets do not match sums of pol ads,” Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 17, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/expense-reports-of-senate-bets-do-not-match-sums-of-pol-ads/

        Table 6: Ad expenditure by beneficiary candidate or party, and payor of ads, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 17, 2013, http://pcij.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PCIJ-Table-6.-Political-Ads-May-2013-Elections.png

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        --
        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        Based on the research of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, in the 2013 elections, there were several types of third-party actors that appeared in the Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures that candidates and political parties filed with the Comelec, as well as in the advertising contracts submitted by media entities to Comelec for the ad spots placed by such third-party actors for candidates and political parties. Some of them are informal groups such as the “Friends of (candidate) type; graduates of the candidate’s class in primary or secondary school or in the university; members of party-list groups; and couples. A number of them however, were formally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This second type of third-party actors include foundations (Ilagan, July 22, 2014).

        Judging from the date when they were incorporated and registered with the SEC, such foundations have been formed just for the purpose of raising funds for a candidate or political party’s electoral campaign. They act thus, as part of a candidate’s campaign machinery (Ilagan, July 22, 2014).

        For instance, the group “Friends of Grace Poe Foundation,” which raised contributions and made expenditures for senatorial candidate Grace Poe registered with the SEC only on Feb. 15, 2013, or right at the start of the campaign period. Another group, “JV Para sa Bayan Movement Inc.,” which raised contributions and made expenditures for senatorial candidate JV Ejercito registered with the SEC only on Dec. 14, 2012, just five months before the elections.

        Nevertheless, the money that they infuse into the campaign is substantial. In fact, the amount of their contributions trump even that of corporate donors. In the 2013 elections, among the 73 non-individual donors of the 33 senatorial candidates and national political parties, the top two biggest contributions came from such foundations: Bagong Pilipinas, Bagong Pilipino Movement Inc., a foundation that donated PhP 55 million (USD 1.254 million) to Eduardo ‘Brother Eddie’ C. Villanueva’s Bangon Pilipinas Party; and JV Para sa Bayan Movement, which donated P43.68 million (USD 996,225) to Ejercito’s campaign according to his SOCE (Ilagan, July 10, 2013). Around 30 percent of Ejercito’s expenditures were funded by JV Para sa Bayan Movement.

        However, because the law does not require such third-party actors to report the details of the contributions that they receive and expenditures they make, there appears to be huge disparities in the amounts declared by the candidates with the amounts reflected in other reports submitted to Comelec.

        In the case of “JV Para sa Bayan Movement Inc.,” Ilagan says that the figures enrolled in Ejercito’s SOCE as donations from JV Para sa Bayan were in lump sum. The amount also did not match the total amount in advertising spots purchased by JV Para sa Bayan as donations to Ejercito -- as reflected in the advertising contracts submitted by the networks to Comelec and computed by the PCIJ.

        The name JV Para sa Bayan Movement Inc. is listed among Ejercito’s contributors (Schedule of Contributions Received or Annex G of the SOCE) as having donated PhP43,686,740.75 (USD 996,379). However, the report gave no details as to when the contribution was made, what the nature of the contribution was, and who the individual contributors who donated to JV Para sa Bayan were (Annex G of Ejercito’s SOCE, filed with Comelec June 13, 2013).

        When PCIJ compared the amount supposedly donated by JV Para sa Bayan to Ejercito with the amounts it paid for Ejercito’s ad spots (as computed from the advertising contracts submitted to Comelec from the media networks), it turned out that the actual amount spent by JV Para sa Bayan Movement for Ejercito’s ads, as reflected in the advertising contracts, was PhP 130,609,634.74 (USD 2,978,860) – or triple the amount enrolled in Ejercito’s SOCE (Table 6, PCIJ, July 17, 2013; Ilagan, July 17, 2013).

        Because they are also not required by law to report the details of their individual contributors, third-party actors serve as a “corporate shell” of sorts for individual or corporate donors who do not want to divulge their identity by directly donating to a candidate or political party (Guia, July 23, 2014; Ilagan, July 22, 2014).

        The lack of regulation also gives rise to several gray areas in law, and discrepancies in the reports filed by the candidates. An example is the case of the “Friends of Grace Poe Foundation,” a group that the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism discovered to have placed political ads for senatorial candidate Grace Poe in 2013 (Ilagan, July 22, 2014). In the advertising contracts covering Poe’s political ads that the media entities were required to submit to Comelec, “Friends of Grace Poe” appeared in various ad contracts as the purchaser of Poe’s political ads. However, no entity named “Friends of Grace Poe” was listed anywhere in Poe’s SOCE.

        According to a representative of Poe’s campaign, the ad contracts were “booked using the name of the foundation, being the juridical entity that made the donations for the said ad contracts.” However, instead of listing “Friends of Grace Poe Foundation” among the candidate’s contributors in the SOCE, the representative said, “(In) the spirit of transparency, we went ahead and disclosed the actual contributors to the foundation, for the purpose, in our campaign financial reports to the Comelec,” (Ilagan, July 10, 2013).

        Another gray area is ownership of the contributions that a third-party actor is able to solicit. Because this area is not regulated, it is not clear whether it is the candidate that will own the money raised or the third-party actor.

        Lim also says that there are cases when a candidate or party would deny having any knowledge of certain transactions made by third-party actors, even if such actions are clearly meant to promote their candidacy. In such cases, candidates or parties would claim that it was their “volunteers” who entered into such transactions, allegedly without their consent (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014

        Karol Anne Ilagan, Research Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, interview conducted July 22, 2014.

        Luie Tito F. Guia, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 23, 2014.

        “Foundations for elections,” Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 10, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/foundations-for-elections/

        Schedule of Contributions Received or Annex G of the SOCE of JV Ejercito, filed with Comelec June 13, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/downloadables/2013NLESOCE/SENATORIAL/EjercitoEstradaJV/G.pdf

        “Expense reports of Senate bets do not match sums of pol ads,” Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 17, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/expense-reports-of-senate-bets-do-not-match-sums-of-pol-ads/

        Table 6: Ad expenditure by beneficiary candidate or party, and payor of ads, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, July 17, 2013, http://pcij.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PCIJ-Table-6.-Political-Ads-May-2013-Elections.png

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

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      Monitoring Capabilities
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        38
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        YES
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        The Philippine Constitution has vested the Commission on Elections with the function to recommend to the Congress “measures to minimize election spending.” It also vested the Comelec with the power to “prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies.” (Article IX-C, Section 2 (7)).

        The Omnibus Election Code, meanwhile, vested the Comelec with the power to “inquire into the financial records of candidates and any organization or group of persons, motu proprio or upon written representation for probable cause by any candidate or group of persons or qualified voter, after due notice and hearing (OEC Section 57).

        The Code also states that all Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures must be submitted to the Comelec (OEC Section 108), and that it is the Comelec’s duty “to examine all statements of contributions and expenditures of candidates and political parties.” (OEC Section 110).

        THE 1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION Article IX Constitutional Commissions C. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS Section 2 (7), Powers and Functions "Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies."

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE Section 57. “Measures to ensure enforcement. - For the effective enforcement of the provisions of this Code, the Commission is further vested and charged with the following powers, duties and responsibilities:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary 1. To issue search warrants after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses 2. To stop any illegal election activity, or confiscate, tear down, and stop any unlawful, libelous, misleading or false election propaganda, after due notice and hearing. 3. To inquire into the financial records of candidates and any organization or group of persons, motu proprio or upon written representation for probable cause by any candidate or group of persons or qualified voter, after due notice and hearing.”

        Section 108 “Place for filing statements. - The statements of contributions and expenditures shall be filed as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (a) Those of candidates for President and Vice-President, with the Commission. (b) Those of candidates for Members of the Batasang Pambansa, with the provincial election supervisor concerned, except those of candidates in the National Capital Region which shall be filed with the regional election director of said region. (c) Those of candidates for provincial offices, with the provincial election supervisor concerned. (d) Those of candidates for city, municipal and barangay offices, with the election registrar concerned. If the statement is sent by mail, it shall be by registered mail, and the date on which it was registered with the post office may be considered as the filing date thereof if confirmed on the same date by telegram or radiogram addressed to the office or official with whom the statement should be filed. The provincial election supervisors and election registrars concerned shall, within fifteen days after the last day for the filing of the statements, send to the Commission duplicate copies of all statements filed with them”

        Section 110 "It shall be the duty of the Commission to examine all statements of contributions and expenditures of candidates and political parties to determine compliance with the provisions of this Article."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Constitution of the Philippines, Article IX C, Section 2 (7), October 15, 1986 http://www.lawphil.net/consti/cons1987.html

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]), Dec. 3, 1985. Sections 57, 108, and 110. http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

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        MODERATE
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        The Philippine Constitution provides the qualifications that the Commissioners of the Commission on Elections should have, and that they should be “appointed by the President with consent of the Commission on Appointments for a fixed term” (Article IX-C, Sections 1 and 2).

        The Constitution also provides that Commissioners should divest themselves of any financial or business interests during their tenure (Article IX-A, Section 2). The composition of the Commission on Appointments meanwhile, is described in the Administrative Code of the Philippines.

        The Constitution however, does not state that the appointment process by the President (including the nominees and the basis for final selection of the appointee) should be made public. Moreover, neither the Constitution nor the Administrative Code prescribes any time frame for the Commission on Appointments to deliberate on and decide whether to confirm or reject the appointment made by the President. The Administrative Code also does not state that the selection process by the Commission on Appointments should be made public, nor are there strict provisions guarding against conflicts of interest upon appointment.

        It is only the “Rules of the Commission on Appointments” that states that the process of selecting the most suitable candidate should be made public. Chapter 4, Section 16 of the rules states, “consideration of the qualifications of the nominee or appointee” should be made “through public hearing.”

        1987 Philippine Constitution Article IX-C, Section 1 (1-2) “1. There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective positions in the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. 2. The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.”

        1987 Philippine Constitution Article IX-A, Section 2 “No member of a Constitutional Commission shall, during his tenure, hold any other office or employment. Neither shall he engage in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which, in any way, may be affected by the functions of his office, nor shall he be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract with, or in any franchise or privilege granted by the Government, any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.”

        Administrative Code of the Philippines, Book 2 Section 5 “Sec. 5. Commission on Appointments. - There shall be a Commission on Appointments consisting of the President of the Senate, as ex officio Chairman, and twelve (12) Senators and twelve (12) Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The Chairman of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The Commission shall act on all appointments submitted to it within thirty (30) session days of the Congress from their submission. The Commission shall rule by a majority vote of all its Members.

        RULES OF THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS, CHAPTER IV, Section 16. “SECTION 16. REFERRAL OF NOMINATIONS OR APPOINTMENTS TO COMMITTEES; EXCEPTION. All nominations or appointments submitted to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation or approval shall be directly and immediately referred by the Chairman to the appropriate Standing Committees after the nominees or appointees have submitted the complete documentary requirements mentioned in Section 24, Chapter V of the Rules of the Commission.

        The Standing Committee concerned shall begin consideration of the qualifications of the nominee or appointee through public hearing within thirty (30) calendar days from referral, in the order that they have submitted the complete documentary requirements: Provided, that for purposes of the plenary session, the order of precedence in the confirmation of the nominations or appointments of military or foreign service officers shall be on the basis of rank.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines Article IXA Section 2, and IXC Section 1 (1-2), October 15, 1986 http://www.lawphil.net/consti/cons1987.html

        Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, Republic Act No. 6713, Section 9, Feb. 20, 1989 http://excell.csc.gov.ph/cscweb/RA6713.html

        The Administrative Code of 1987, Executive Order No. 292, Book 2 Section 5., July 25, 1987 http://www.gov.ph/1987/07/25/executive-order-no-292-book-vtitle-isubtitle-cchapter-2-the-commission-proper/

        RULES OF THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS, CHAPTER IV, Section 16. http://comappt.gov.ph/index.php?id1=3&id2=3&id3=0

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        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        The two-step process of appointment of Comelec Commissioners tends to be highly politicized.

        Under the Constitution, the power to appoint lies with the President, while the power to confirm appointees lies with Congress, through the Commission on Appointments, which is composed of 12 senators and 12 members of the House of Representatives, with the Senate President acting as chairperson.

        An appointment made by the President when Congress is in session has to be confirmed first by the Commission on Appointments before the appointee can assume office. Under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the Commission on Appointments can only meet while Congress is in session (Section 16).

        While Congress in not in session however, the President also has the power to make appointments, and in such cases, the appointees can assume office immediately. This is called the power to make ad-interim appointments – a power vested by the Constitution. The Commission on Appointments can then confirm or reject the appointment when Congress resumes session. When no such confirmation takes place during the session of Congress, the effectivity of such appointments expires upon the adjournment of Congress (Section 16). When this happens, the President can decide to reappoint the appointee (such as a Comelec Commissioner) for a fresh ad-interim term, or replace him by appointing another Commissioner in his stead (Santos, July 9, 2014).

        This system has given rise to the politicized nature of appointments in Comelec mainly because of two reasons: 1) The lack of a prescribed timeframe for the Commission on Appointments to confirm or reject the President’s appointment.

        Because of this, the Commission on Appointments may opt to refuse to calendar a hearing to deliberate on the confirmation of a Presidential appointee. This usually happens when an appointee is not in the good graces of any of the members of the Commission on Appointments, often due to political reasons. Sources say that rejecting a Presidential appointee is viewed by the Commission on Appointments as infringing upon the President’s ‘power to appoint’. Thus, historically, it has become an “unspoken rule” for the Commission on Appointments to refuse to schedule deliberations and just bypass the confirmation of a Presidential nominee rather than officially reject him (interview with a source from Comelec who requested anonymity, July 2014; Diaz, Aug. 13, 2013).

        While the intent of the law when it vested the President power to make ad-interim appointments is for it to be used in exceptional circumstances only, like during emergency or crisis situations, such ad-interim appointments have now become the norm rather than the exception. Sources interviewed for this indicator for instance, could not recall any Commissioner who was appointed by the President when Congress was in session (and who therefore assumed office only when his appointment was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments), except for former Comelec Chairman Christian Monsod in the early 1990s.

        2) Nominees tend to be “at the mercy of the President” for reappointment. When an appointee’s confirmation is bypassed by the Commission on Appointments, and the deadline for such confirmation lapses when Congress goes on recess, the President may choose to just reappoint the nominee for a fresh ad-interim term, or replace him by appointing another Commissioner in his stead. In both instances, the nominees are not made public. The President (and the selection committee that he forms as he so wishes) can just appoint anyone based on his own standards. There is nothing that prevents the President from doing such because it is “within his power to appoint” (interview with a source from Comelec who requested anonymity, July 2014).

        The longer the confirmation of the Commissioner by the Commission on Appointments takes, the “more susceptible” to political influences a nominee becomes. This is because a nominee might choose not to make hard decisions involving political allies of members of the Commission on Appointments for fear that it would imperil his chances of being confirmed for the position (interview with a source from Comelec who requested anonymity, July 2014).

        A case that exemplifies the above is the recent replacement by former provincial governor-turned Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca by newly appointed Commissioner Arthur Lim in July 2014.

        Padaca was appointed by the President in Oct. 2012 on an ad-interim basis. Since then, Padaca’s confirmation was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments several times (Santos, July 9, 2014). This is even as the Commission on Appointments was able to deliberate and confirm the appointment of two other nominees: Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia and Commissioner Al Parreno, who were both appointed ad interim by the President even later than Padaca in April 2013, just a month before the May 2013 elections (Bueza, May 4, 2014). Like Padaca, Guia and Parreno were also bypassed by the Commission on Appointments several times. However, unlike Padaca, Guia and Parreno were eventually confirmed by the Commission on Appointments last March 5, 2014, or nearly one year after they were appointed by the President.

        After Padaca was again bypassed by the Commission on Appointments when Congress went on recess last June 14, 2014, the President decided not to re-appoint her for a fresh term. The President replaced her instead with lawyer Arthur Lim, whom the President appointed last July 27, 2014. Arthur Lim was one of the private prosecutors in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona (ABS-CBNnews.com, July 27, 2014).

        Interestingly, both Guia and Parreno were not the first picks of the President for Comelec Commisioners either. Before he appointed Guia and Parreno, the President appointed two different Commissioners: election lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo and former Congressman and ambassador Macabangkit Lanto. Both of them however, turned down the appointments (Esmaquel II, March 11, 2013). Sardillo’s decision to reject her appointment allegedly came after Commissioner Padaca and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima strongly opposed her appointment. Sardillo used to represent Padaca’s political rival as a lawyer in the latter's province when she was running for governor. De Lima was Padaca’s legal counsel then (Rappler.com, March 9, 2013). Lanto, meanwhile declined the post because of opposition from several sectors. This was because in 1994, Lanto was unseated from his seat in Congress due to alleged poll fraud (Santos, March 8, 2013).

        Leaders of civil society organizations interviewed for this indicator agree with this observation.

        Lawyer Rona Ann Caritos of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) also recalls that in 2010, when the post of Comelec Chairman became vacant, a group of civil society organizations including LENTE, presented to the President an alternative nominee for the post. The CSO nominee was the former Executive Director of LENTE who was an expert in election laws. While the nominee was invited by the President for an interview, he was later not selected. The decision did not surprise Ona, who observes that historically, appointed Comelec commissioners are not experts of election law nor of election administration. She also says that historically, no Commissioner was ever appointed without political connections (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform also says that at the time of appointment, the President would pick out the candidate that would most likely be a “team player,” or someone who will not make things hard for the administration (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources

        Anonymous source at Comelec, interview conducted July 2014.

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2104.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014

        “Corona Prosecutor replaces Padaca in Comelec, ABS-CBNnews.com,” July 27, 2014, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/07/26/14/corona-prosecutor-replaces-padaca-comelec

        “Comelec sees no urgency to name new Commissioner in place of Padaca,” Tina G. Santos, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 9, 2014, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/618304/comelec-sees-no-urgency-to-name-new-commissioner-in-place-of-padaca

        “Palace names Comelec Commissioners,” Paterno Esmaquel II, Rappler.com, April 18, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/26697-comelec-commissioners-guia-parreno

        “Appointments body to convene tomorrow,” Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star, Aug. 13, 2013, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/08/13/1084711/appointments-body-convene-tomorrow

        “CA endorses appointment of two poll commissioners,” Michael Bueza, Rappler.com, March 4, 2014, http://www.rappler.com/nation/52077-comelec-commissioners-guia-parreno-appointment-hearing

        “2 Comelec commissioners get CA nod”, Andreo Calonzo, GMA News, March 5, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/351185/news/nation/2-comelec-commissioners-get-ca-nod

        “Sardillo declines Comelec post due to politics?” Rappler.com, March 9, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/23430-sardillo-comelec-politics

        “New poll official and the ties that bind, Reynaldo Santos Jr.,” Rappler.com, March 8, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/23376-comelec-new-commissioner

        “Lanto declines Comelec post, too,” Paterno Esmaquel II, Rappler.com, March 11, 2013, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/23517-lanto-declines-comelec-post

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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        MODERATE
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        Because the Commission on Elections is a Constitutional Commission, its powers and independence are ensured in the 1987 Philippine Constitution itself.

        The Constitutions states that the Comelec Commissioners should not hold any other office or employment, that the salary of the Comelec Chairman and Commissioners are fixed, and that the Comelec enjoy fiscal autonomy (1987 Philippine Constitution, Article IX-A, Sections 1-7).

        The Constitution has also vested the Comelec with great decision-making powers, such as the enforcement of “all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall,” and the exercise of “exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials.”

        In cases involving lower-ranking officials (municipal and barangay level) that are brought before the lower trial courts, the appeals process still falls within the Comelec’s jurisdiction. In such election cases involving elective municipal and barangay offices, the Constitution states that the Comelec’s decision shall be “final, executory, and not appealable” (1987 Philippine Constitution, Article IX-C, SECTION 2).

        Article IX Section 1 (2) meanwhile, states that the term of the Chairman and Commissioners of the Comelec shall be fixed upon the appointment of the President and “with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.”

        ARTICLE XI, Section 2 of the Constitution meanwhile states that the members of the Constitutional Commissions, including the Comelec, shall only be removed from office by impeachment. Section 3 explains that impeachment is the sole purview of the House or Representatives and the Senate, meaning that no independent body regulates the process.

        1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE IX-A, SECTIONS. 1-7 “Constitutional Commissions A. COMMON PROVISIONS Section 1. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit.

        Section 2. No member of a Constitutional Commission shall, during his tenure, hold any other office or employment. Neither shall he engage in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which, in any way, may be affected by the functions of his office, nor shall he be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract with, or in any franchise or privilege granted by the Government, any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.

        Section 3. The salary of the Chairman and the Commissioners shall be fixed by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure.

        Section 4. The Constitutional Commissions shall appoint their officials and employees in accordance with law.

        Section 5. The Commission shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Their approved annual appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released.

        Section 6. Each Commission en banc may promulgate its own rules concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices. Such rules, however, shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.

        Section 7. Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members, any case or matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution. A case or matter is deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the rules of the Commission or by the Commission itself. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof.”

        1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE IX-C, SECTION 2 “The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions: 1. Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall. 2. Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction. Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable. 3. Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters. 4. Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections. 5. Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and accredit citizens' arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall not be registered. Those which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means, or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreign government shall likewise be refused registration. Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties, organizations, coalitions, or candidates related to elections, constitute interference in national affairs, and, when accepted, shall be an additional ground for the cancellation of their registration with the Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law. 6. File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices. 7. Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies. 8. Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to, its directive, order, or decision. 9. Submit to the President and the Congress, a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.”

        1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE IX-C, SECTION 1 (2) “C. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS Section 1 (2) The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.”

        1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE XI, Section 2. “The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.”


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. While in paper, the independence of high-level appointees in Comelec is guaranteed, there are still provisions in the institutional-legal framework of the Philippine political system that puts to question the independence and autonomy of high-level officials of Comelec. The appointment powers of the president with hardly any effective mechanism to check and balance is one. Also, though supposedly with fiscal autonomy, the Comelec budget still goes through legislative deliberations, which makes Comelec officials prone to pressure from politicians.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines Article Article IX-A, Sections 1-7, Article IX-C, Section 2, Article IX-C, Section 1 (2), And Article XI, Section 2, Oct. 15, 1986 http://www.lawphil.net/consti/cons1987.html

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        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        Commissioners whose appointment has already been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments enjoy security of tenure (a fixed seven-year term as provided in the Constitution). They can also only be removed by impeachment. The fact that the Comelec is a Constitutional Commission ensures this level of security of tenure. The Commission sitting en Banc does not even have the power to suspend a Commissioner. In fact, sources interviewed for this research could not recall any Commissioner who was removed from office without due process.

        It’s an entirely different story for Commissioners who are on an ad-interim appointment. The longer they wait for confirmation by the Commission on Appointments, the “more susceptible” to political influences such Commissioners become. This is because a Commissioner who is on an ad-interim posting would tend to err on the side of caution by delaying making the hard decisions involving the political allies of the members of the Commission on Appointments, for fear that it would imperil his chances of being confirmed for the position. Also, the tenure of a Commissioner who has been bypassed by the Commission on Appointments remains solely at the discretion of the President, who may choose to reappoint him or not (interview with a source from Comelec who requested anonymity, July 2014).

        A case that exemplifies the above is the recent replacement by former provincial governor-turned Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca by newly appointed Commissioner Arthur Lim in July 2014.

        Padaca was appointed by the President in Oct. 2012 on an ad-interim basis. Since then, Padaca’s confirmation was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments several times (Santos, July 9, 2014). This is even as the Commission on Appointments was able to deliberate and confirm the appointment of two other nominees: Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia and Commissioner Al Parreno, who were both appointed ad interim by the President even later than Padaca in April 2013, just a month before the May 2013 elections (Bueza, May 4, 2014). Like Padaca, Guia and Parreno were also bypassed by the Commission on Appointments several times. However, unlike Padaca, Guia and Parreno were eventually confirmed by the Commission on Appointments last March 5, 2014, or nearly one year after they were appointed by the President.

        After Padaca was again bypassed by the Commission on Appointments when Congress went on recess last June 14, 2014, the President decided not to re-appoint her for a fresh term. The President replaced her instead with lawyer Arthur Lim, whom the President appointed last July 27, 2014. Arthur Lim was one of the private prosecutors in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona (ABS-CBNnews.com, July 27, 2014).

        Also, the sources interviewed for this indicator see the budget process as problematic for Comelec's independence. The Comelec’s budget needs to be approved annually by the legislature. Before being approved, the Comelec's budget need to be defended or justified by members of the Commission before the Committee on Appropriations. While sources say that this does not necessarily mean that the decisions that the Comelec would make are based on fear or favor (as both are strong words, they say), there are some instances when the Comelec has to weigh things more carefully when certain members of the legislature are concerned, because things “can get difficult” for Comelec come budget time. The political system itself, says another source, operates as a deterrent to running after offenders (interview with sources from Comelec who requested anonymity, July 2014).

        The way lawyer Rona Ann Caritos of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) sees it, some decisions of the Comelec get delayed because of political considerations. This is the reason that a number of decisions of the Comelec in previous elections, such as disqualification cases, came out a day before or very near the succeeding elections, rendering such decisions meaningless as the candidate who was disqualified was already able to occupy the post practically the entire length of the term (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        But Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform sees this situation as merely a lack of capacity on the Comelec’s part to act on all cases filed before it in a timely manner. Because of the sheer volume of cases filed before the Comelec and with only a handful of lawyers to act on those cases, the Comelec, at times, would issue an omnibus resolution just before an upcoming election, on several cases which are the same in nature. Also because of this lack of capacity, the Comelec fails to act on 70 percent to 80 percent of cases filed before it, he adds (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        Nevertheless, for the 2013 elections, Caritos says that the decisions that the Comelec had issued thus far were all unfavorable to opposition candidates. The Comelec, she says, has yet to come out with an unfavorable decision against an administration candidate (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        Casiple also does not discount the tendency of other branches of government to interfere with the decisions of Comelec, and the influence that they hold on the members of the Commission. This is because there are consequences for Comelec members regarding certain matters that are in the control of the other branches. An administration who has majority in both Houses of Congress can impeach an uncooperative member of the Commission, for instance. The executive branch can also withhold a Commissioner’s retirement benefits, and his future after retirement.

        The process of the President’s appointment of Commissioners also makes the relationship between the President and the Commission one of patronage. Casiple says that at the time of appointment, the President would pick out the candidate (especially for Chairmanship) who would most likely be a “team player,” or someone who will not make things hard for the administration (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources

        Anonymous source at Comelec, interview conducted July 2014.

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2104.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        “Corona Prosecutor replaces Padaca in Comelec, ABS-CBNnews.com,” July 27, 2014, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/07/26/14/corona-prosecutor-replaces-padaca-comelec

        “Comelec sees no urgency to name new Commissioner in place of Padaca,” Tina G. Santos, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 9, 2014, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/618304/comelec-sees-no-urgency-to-name-new-commissioner-in-place-of-padaca

        “CA endorses appointment of two poll commissioners,” Michael Bueza, Rappler.com, March 4, 2014, http://www.rappler.com/nation/52077-comelec-commissioners-guia-parreno-appointment-hearing

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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        --
        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        Per the Constitution, the Commission on Elections is headed by a Chairman and six Commissioners (Article IX-C, Section 1 (1)). They may sit en banc or in two divisions. All such election cases shall be heard and decided in division, provided that motions for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc (Article IX-C, Section 3).

        The First and Second Divisions of Comelec hear and decide election protests or petitions. Each Division is composed of three Commissioners, one of whom will be the Presiding Commissioner (Comelec Rules of Procedure, Rule 3 Section 3).

        According to Lim, the Comelec has jurisdiction over cases of election protests filed before the candidate being questioned is officially proclaimed as the winning candidate, such as the case with provincial governor E.R. Ejercito, against whom an election protest was filed by his political rival because of alleged overspending during the campaign before he was officially proclaimed the winning candidate (Ejercito would later be disqualified by the Comelec and asked to vacate his post as governor) (Gamara, Sept. 26, 2013).

        On the other hand, when such election protests are filed after the candidate is already proclaimed winner, the case will go to the Regional Trial Court (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        The cases brought before the Comelec are raffled off either to the First Division or the Second Division. The case will again be raffled off among the three members of the Division to decide on who will get to pen the ruling (what is legally called the ponencia). The Division members then deliberate on the case. The Commissioner assigned writes the decision of the Division and circulates it among the members for approval. When there is no dissenting opinion among the Division members, the decision (ponencia) gets signed by all three Division members and submitted to the Comelec en banc.

        At the Comelec en banc, the case again gets raffled off to the members to decide on who will get to pen the ruling on the case. However, the members of the Division to which the case originated from cannot be assigned to pen the ruling at the en banc level.

        The en banc then decides whether to affirm or reverse the ruling. In the en banc, decision-making is generally collegial. The Commissioners try to arrive at a consensus as much as possible through discussion and argument.

        When the Commissioners cannot reach a consensus because of differences in the interpretation of the law, facts, and evidence, only then do they reach a decision via a majority vote (Guia, July 23, 2014).

        The ruling or decision by the en banc is deemed executory. In the case of E.R. Ejercito (San Luis vs Ejercito, Sept. 26, 2013), the decision by the Comelec First Division to disqualify him for campaign overspending was unanimously affirmed by the Comelec en banc on May 21, 2014. This decision was deemed executory, thus Ejercito was asked to vacate his post immediately. After a stand-off lasting for several days when Ejercito refused to step down, he finally vacated his seat on May 30, 2014 (Locsin, May 30, 2014). He was replaced by the Vice Governor.

        Only the Supreme Court has the power to reverse the Comelec’s decision, thus petitions for appealing Comelec decisions must be filed before the Supreme Court. Ejercito for instance, has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court to reverse his ouster (Uy, May 21, 2014; Requejo, Barcelo, and Damaso, May 24, 2014).

        Comelec’s decision on Ejercito was lauded by some sectors as evidence of the poll body’s seriousness about enforcing election laws. ER Ejercito’s ouster for overspending was a first for the country. The Office of the President clarified too, that the Comelec’s decision on Ejercito was not politically motivated and that the President had nothing to do with it, for the basis for Comelec’s decision was clear. In fact, a presidential spokesman said, Ejercito’s replacement, the Vice Governor, was not even allied with the President (Go, May 28, 2014).

        The way lawyer Rona Ann Caritos of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) sees it, some decisions of the Comelec gets delayed because of political considerations. This is the reason that a number of decisions of the Comelec in previous elections, such as disqualification cases, came out a day before or very near the succeeding elections, rendering such decisions meaningless as the candidate who was disqualified was already able to occupy the post practically the entire length of the term (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        But Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform sees this situation as merely a lack of capacity on the Comelec’s part to act on all cases filed before it in a timely manner. Because of the sheer volume of cases filed before the Comelec and only a handful of lawyers to act on those cases, the Comelec would, at times, issue an omnibus resolution, just before an upcoming election, on several cases which are the same in nature. Also because of this lack of capacity, the Comelec fails to act on 70 percent to 80 percent of cases filed before it, he adds (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        Nevertheless, for the 2013 elections, Caritos says that the decisions that the Comelec had issued thus far were all unfavorable to opposition candidates. The Comelec, she says, has yet to come out with an unfavorable decision against an administration candidate (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        Casiple also does not discount the tendency of other branches of government to interfere with the decisions of Comelec, and the influence that they hold on the members of the Commission. This is because there are consequences for Comelec members regarding certain matters that are in the control of the other branches. An administration who has majority in both Houses of Congress can impeach an uncooperative member of the Commission, for instance. The executive branch can also withhold a Commissioner’s retirement benefits, and his future after retirement.

        The process of the President’s appointment of Commissioners also makes the relationship between the President and the Commission one of patronage. Casiple says that at the time of appointment, the President would pick out the candidate (especially for Chairmanship) who would most likely be a “team player,” or someone who will not make things hard for the administration (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Aside from its quasi-judicial powers, which grant Comelec the authority to decide on cases pertaining to the enforcement of electoral laws, the Comelec is also the country's election manager. As such, it manages the entire electoral exercise from the preparation to counting of ballots to declaration of winners. For its administrative functions, the Comelec operates through its organizational structure consisting of the Comelec En Banc as the policy-making body and its various offices with the Office of the Executive Director assisting the Comelec Chair in daily operation of the Commission. Depending on the Chair, there is also the position of Commissioner-in-Charge for specific prioritities of Comelec. The Commissioner-in-Charge works closely with the department responsible for the priority assigned to him/ her and reports directly to the Chair.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources

        COMELEC RULES OF PROCEDURE, Rule 3 Section 3, Feb. 15, 1993. http://www.chanrobles.com/comelecrulesofprocedure.htm#.U9eEUvmSzUU

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interviewed July 28, 2014

        Luie Tito F. Guia, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interviewed July 23, 2014.

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2104.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        Commission on Elections, SPA no. 13-306 (DC), San Luis versus Ejercito, Sept. 26, 2013, http://comelec.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/spa-no-13-306dc.pdf

        “Overspending to Victory: Comelec rules to disqualify ER Ejercito as Laguna governor,” Miguel Gamara, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Sept. 26, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/comelec-rules-to-disqualify-er-ejercito-as-laguna-gov/

        “Comelec disqualifies Laguna Gov. Ejercito for campaign overspending,” Amita O. Legaspi and Amanda Fernandez, GMA News, May 21, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/361954/news/nation/comelec-disqualifies-laguna-gov-ejercito-for-campaign-overspending

        “ER Ejercito can still ask SC to reverse ouster as Laguna governor,” Jocelyn R. Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 21, 2014, http://www.inquirer.net/philippine-election-2013/articles/604243

        “ER Ejercito asks SC to stop ouster,” Rey E. Requejo, Vito Barcelo and Ma. Jerrylyn B. Damaso, Manila Standard Today, May. 24, 2014, http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/05/24/er-ejercito-asks-sc-to-stop-ouster/

        “Disqualified Gov. ER Ejercito leaves post temporarily upon Erap’s advice,” Joel Locsin with Amita Legaspi, GMA News, May 30, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/363371/news/regions/disqualified-gov-er-ejercito-leaves-post-temporarily-upon-erap-s-advice

        “SC asks Comelec to comment on ER Ejercito’s plea vs. disqualification,” Mark Meruenas, GMA News May 27, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/362906/news/nation/sc-asks-comelec-to-comment-on-er-ejercito-s-plea-vs-disqualification

        “Lawyer lauds Comelec's ousting of ER Ejercito,” Kimberly Go, Solar News, May 28, 2014 http://www.solarnews.ph/news/2014/05/28/lawyer-lauds-comelec-s-ousting-of-er-ejercito

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        75
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        For the 2013 elections, the Comelec created the Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) that will focus on monitoring the campaign contributions and spending of all candidates, political parties, and party list groups – a task that theretofore was relegated to Comelec’s Law Department, and Education and Information Department (on top of said departments’ multitude of tasks).

        The CFU was tasked not only to determine compliance by the candidates, parties, contributors, and election contractors, but also to coordinate with other departments for prosecution of violators, collection of fines, and imposition of perpetual disqualification. The CFU was created with the objective to "greatly increase Comelec’s ability to enforce election laws on campaign spending and donations [and] minimize the detrimental effects of opaque money politics," says Comelec spokesman James Jimenez in a news report (Santos, June 27, 2012)

        In January 2013, the Comelec issued the guidelines for the implementation of the Campaign Finance Rules (Comelec Resolution 9467) and other campaign finance provisions in the law (Mangahas, Jan. 16, 2013).

        The CFU was able to monitor, conduct a compliance review, and audit the campaign finance reports of ALL national candidates (candidates for senator) and all political parties and party-list groups, says Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, who chairs the Campaign Finance Steering Committee and closely supervised the CFU in the 2013 elections and afterwards (Lim, July 28, 2013). As of this writing, Lim says that based on the audit, the CFU is preparing the complaints to be filed against a number of national candidates for overspending.

        This is even as the CFU functioned merely as an ad hoc body rather than a full-fledged department with its own staff and budget. This is due to the fact that creating a new department within the Comelec would entail an amendment of the Philippine Administrative Code, the law that specifies the departments that would compose Comelec (Administrative Code, Book 5, Subtitle C, Section 2). The result was that the ad hoc Campaign Finance Unit at the time did not have its own resources, including skilled personnel, equipment, and budget (de los Reyes, April 17, 2013).

        According to Lim, the CFU had to pool existing personnel with auditing skills from the different departments of Comelec in addition to the casual employees that they had to hire to do the monitoring and compliance review of the Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) that all candidates, political parties, and party-list groups are required to submit to Comelec within 30 days after the elections. Said personnel also verified the SOCEs against other documents, such as political advertising contracts that media entities are likewise required to submit to Comelec, and against the Nielsen database of political advertisements, to which the Comelec was subscribed during the campaign period.

        It took some five months and 16 auditors for the audit work to be completed, says Lim.

        Lim also says that the CFU felt the brunt of the work in Dec. 2013, following the unit’s publication of a list of 422 elected officials, political parties, and party-list groups that did not submit their SOCE after the extended deadline for submission on June 30, 2013. Along with the list is an order for said officials to vacate their posts due to non-compliance of campaign finance rules (Commission on Elections, Nov. 27, 2013; Mangahas, Dec. 13, 2013).

        Because of that list, the Unit found itself suddenly swamped with thousands of report submissions and payment of fines for late filing, ironically even from candidates whose reports were not even deemed by the CFU to be problematic in the first place (Aquino, Dec. 18, 2013).

        In February 2014, the Comelec en banc has issued a resolution setting May 12, 2014 as the final and non-extendible deadline for the filing of SOCEs (Comelec Resolution No. 9849). The en banc has also designated Comelec Planning Department Director Ferdinand Rafanan as the Head of the CFU, with Lim overseeing the unit. However, Lim says that the CFU is still lacking in personnel, particularly lawyers who are supposed to prepare the complaints against campaign finance violators.


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree - suggests a score of 50. At present, most of the staff of the Campaign Finance Unit (CFU), 26 out of 32-33, according to Atty. Rafanan, are job order casuals. This means only 6-7 staff are regular. Atty. Rafanan said he is promised 5 lawyers, but this has yet to be realized. It took more than a year for CFU to gather the Statements of Campaign Expenditures (SOCEs) and to date, the comprehensive report on the level of compliance of all the SOCEs submitted is still being prepared. The capacity for monitoring during campaigns for the purpose of preventing violation is also lacking. While the improvements for 2013 elections were indeed remarkable, the capacity of Comelec-CFU is in no way sufficient at the moment for Comelec to regulate campaign finance at all levels (national and subnational).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources

        “Pera, Pulitika, at Eleksyon (Money, Politics, and Elections): Comelec lays down rules,” Malou Mangahas, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Jan. 16, 2013, http://pcij.org/blog/2013/01/16/pera-pulitika-at-eleksyon-comelec-lays-down-rules

        “Big, bold reforms,” Che de los Reyes, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, April 17, 2013 http://pcij.org/stories/big-bold-reforms/

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interviewed July 28, 2014

        List of candidates who have failed to submit their campaign finance disclosure statement in relation to the 13 May 2013 National and Local Elections, Commission on Elections, Nov. 27, 2013, http://comelec.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/socelistfailedtosubmit.pdf

        “Comelec’s 424: Negligence or ignorance of election laws?” Malou Mangahas, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Dec. 13, 2013, http://pcij.org/blog/2013/12/13/comelecs-424-negligence-or-ignorance-of-election-laws

        “66 of 422 officials in Comelec list now SOCE-compliant,” Leslie Ann Aquino, Manila Bulletin, Dec. 18, 2013, http://www.mb.com.ph/66-of-422-officials-in-comelec-list-now-soce-compliant/

        Comelec Resolution No. 9849, In Re: Setting of a Final and Non-Extendible Deadline for Candidates, Political Parties & Party-List Organization Who Participated in the 2013 National & Local Elections to Correct or Belatedly Submit Their Campaign Finance Reports, Statements & Supporting Documents According to the Standards Set in Resolution No. 9476, Feb. 13, 2014, https://comelec.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/comres9849.pdf

        The Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292) Book 5, Subtitle C, Section 2, July 25, 1987 http://www.gov.ph/1987/07/25/executive-order-no-292-book-vtitle-isubtitle-cchapter-2-the-commission-proper/

        COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 or the "Rules and Regulations Governing Campaign Finance and Disclosure in Connection with the 13 May 2013 National Elections and Subsequent Elections Thereafter," Rule 4, Section 1.a.- 1.d., Jan. 15, 2013 http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9476

        Comelec creates new unit to monitor campaign finances, Reynaldo Santos Jr, Rappler.com, June 27, 2012, http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/7683-comelec-creates-new-unit-to-monitor-campaign-finances

        Reviewer's sources: Ferdinand Rafanan, Head, Campaign Finance Unit/ Director IV, Planning Department, Commission on Elections, interview conducted October 15, 2014

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        For the 2013 elections, the Comelec’s Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) has completed the audit of the campaign finance report of ALL national candidates: 33 candidates for senator, as well as political parties and party-list groups, says Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, who chairs the Campaign Finance Steering Committee and closely supervised the CFU in the 2013 elections and afterward (Lim, July 28, 2013).

        As of this writing, Lim says that based on the audit, the CFU is preparing the complaints to be filed against a number of these candidates for overspending. Lim says that Comelec is just making sure that there are no loopholes in the law that said candidates can use to evade conviction. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes's statement in a media interview corroborates what Lim says (ABS-CBNNews.com, July 13, 2014).

        These complaints were all being done after the candidates in question were already proclaimed winners and as such, the charges will have to be filed in court. Lim stated explicitly during the interview that they were doing an audit -- corroborating the figures reported in the candidates' SOCE with other documents such as advertising contracts from the networks.

        The Comelec had earlier promulgated a landmark decision disqualifying a candidate for governor for overspending.

        In June 2013, gubernatorial candidate E.R. Ejercito was charged with campaign overspending by his closest political rival. The election protest was filed before the Comelec prior to Ejercito’s official proclamation as the winning candidate for governor of Laguna in the May 2013 elections.

        In September 2013, the Comelec’s First Division issued a decision to disqualify Ejercito. The decision was based on Comelec’s audit of Ejercito’s campaign contribution and spending report, and verification of said document with the advertising contracts submitted by TV networks that aired Ejercito’s political ads (Gamara, Sept. 26, 2013).

        The decision by the Comelec First Division was unanimously affirmed by the Comelec en banc on May 21, 2014 (Legaspi and Fernandez, May 21, 2014). This decision was deemed executory, thus Ejercito was asked to vacate his post immediately. After a stand-off lasting for several days when Ejercito refused to step down, he finally vacated his seat on May 30, 2014 (Locsin, May 30, 2014). He was replaced by the Vice Governor.

        Further, according to Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, staff of Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, as of December 2014, there are nine cases of overspending during the 2013 elections that have been filed by the CFU with the Law Department for preliminary investigation (and for eventual filing of criminal charges in court). In addition, more than 150 cases will be filed in January 2015, she says.

        The Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) is currently focusing on prosecuting 272 cases of election overspending committed during the 2010 National and Local Elections, as these offenses will lapse due to the statute of limitations (prescription period is 5 years for election offense cases) by May 2015, adds Wee-Lozada. Hence, the CFU only has three months to prosecute them before they lapse.

        Please note that the CFU was formed only in 2012. As such, cases related to the 2010 elections are being acted upon simultaneously with those related to the 2013 elections.

        On the case of ER Ejercito: As explained in indicator #43, “the Comelec has jurisdiction over cases of election protests filed before the candidate being questioned is officially proclaimed as the winning candidate, such as the case with provincial governor E.R. Ejercito, against whom an election protest was filed by his political rival because of alleged overspending during the campaign before he was officially proclaimed the winning candidate (Ejercito would later be disqualified by the Comelec and asked to vacate his post as governor) (Gamara, Sept. 26, 2013).

        On the other hand, when such election protests are filed after the candidate is already proclaimed winner, the case will go to the Regional Trial Court (Lim, July 28, 2014).”

        ER Ejercito’s disqualification case was filed before Ejercito was proclaimed winner. Upon the CFU’s audit and investigation, it forwarded to the Comelec En Banc a recommendation for Ejercito’s disqualification. Based on the results of the CFU’s investigation, the Commission En Banc eventually decided to disqualify Ejercito. Ejercito appealed the case before the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court, on Nov. 25, 2014, upheld the Comelec's decision to disqualify Ejercito for campaign overspending (Rappler.com, Nov. 25, 2014).

        As to Ejercito’s criminal liability for overspending, the CFU, under Director Ferdinand T. Rafanan, is currently in the process of collating documentary evidence in relation to the criminal complaint. “Please note that the quantum of evidence required is higher for criminal cases, hence, we want to be very thorough and meticulous in the preparation of the complaint,” Wee-Lozada said.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interviewed July 28, 2014

        "Comelec: More to be disqualified due to overspending," ABS-CBNNews.com, July 13, 2014 http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/07/13/14/comelec-more-be-disqualified-due-overspending

        “Overspending to Victory: Comelec rules to disqualify ER Ejercito as Laguna governor,” Miguel Gamara, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Sept. 26, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/comelec-rules-to-disqualify-er-ejercito-as-laguna-gov/

        Commission on Elections, SPA no. 13-306 (DC), San Luis versus Ejercito, Sept. 26, 2013, http://comelec.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/spa-no-13-306dc.pdf

        “Comelec disqualifies Laguna Gov. Ejercito for campaign overspending,” Amita O. Legaspi and Amanda Fernandez, GMA News, May 21, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/361954/news/nation/comelec-disqualifies-laguna-gov-ejercito-for-campaign-overspending

        “Disqualified Gov. ER Ejercito leaves post temporarily upon Erap’s advice,” Joel Locsin with Amita Legaspi, GMA News, May 30, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/363371/news/regions/disqualified-gov-er-ejercito-leaves-post-temporarily-upon-erap-s-advice

        “SC asks Comelec to comment on ER Ejercito’s plea vs. disqualification,” Mark Meruenas, GMA News May 27, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/362906/news/nation/sc-asks-comelec-to-comment-on-er-ejercito-s-plea-vs-disqualification

        “Lawyer lauds Comelec's ousting of ER Ejercito,” Kimberly Go, Solar News, May 28, 2014 http://www.solarnews.ph/news/2014/05/28/lawyer-lauds-comelec-s-ousting-of-er-ejercito

        Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, Attorney IV, Office of Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, Commission on Elections, Dec. 17, 2014, explanation received via email.

        “69 poll bets face raps for overspending in 2010, 2013,” Crisostomo Sheila, Philippine Star, Oct. 14, 2014, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/10/14/1379987/69-poll-bets-face-raps-overspending-2010-2013

        "100 bets under probe for poll overspending," Crisostomo Sheila, Philippine Star, Nov. 29, 2014, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/11/29/1396936/100-bets-under-probe-poll-overspending

        “SC upholds disqualification of Laguna Governor Ejercito,” Rappler.com, Nov. 25, 2014, http://www.rappler.com/nation/76056-sc-upholds-disqualification-laguna-governor-ejercito.

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        To date, there has only been one concluded audit on the campaign spending and contributions of a candidate: the disqualification of gubernatorial candidate ER Ejercito.

        In September 2013, the Comelec’s First Division ruled to disqualify Ejercito for overspending during his campaign for the May 2013 elections. The ruling was based on Comelec’s audit of his campaign contribution and spending report, and verification of said document with the advertising contracts submitted by TV networks that aired Ejercito’s political ads (Gamara, Sept. 26, 2013).

        The details of the investigation are included in the First Division’s decision, which was uploaded at the Comelec’s Education and Information Department’s Wordpress blogsite the same day that the decision was issued (Comelec, Sept. 26, 2013).

        Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim says however, that the Comelec has “no standing policy” on publishing the results of investigations on campaign finance. He has no opposition though, to doing so, he says (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        Lim says that should someone want to have a copy of the full results of an investigation, and said investigation is not uploaded on the Comelec website, the person can request for a copy of said investigation from the Clerk of the Commission (for campaign finance cases and pre-election cases), and from the Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (for post-elections cases).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interviewed July 28, 2014

        Commission on Elections, SPA no. 13-306 (DC), San Luis versus Ejercito, Sept. 26, 2013, http://comelec.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/spa-no-13-006dc/ http://comelec.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/spa-no-13-306dc.pdf

        “Overspending to Victory: Comelec rules to disqualify ER Ejercito as Laguna governor,” Miguel Gamara, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Sept. 26, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/comelec-rules-to-disqualify-er-ejercito-as-laguna-gov/

        http://pcij.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/CReso-SPA-No.-13-306-DC-1D-SEP.pdf

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
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        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        Article XXII Sections 261 and 262 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) enumerates the prohibited acts, which constitute violations of election laws, including election finance laws and rules. These acts are considered “election offenses” -- a criminal offense under Philippine laws -- and carry the penalty of one to six years of imprisonment without probation, and disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage (OEC Sections 263 and 264).

        The following are among the prohibited acts related to campaign finance that are enumerated under Sections 261 and 262: - Soliciting or receiving contributions from prohibited contributors enumerated under Sec. 95 of the OEC - Soliciting or receiving contributions from foreigners - Raising funds by holding dances, lotteries, cockfights, games, boxing bouts, bingo, beauty contests, theatrical or other performances, among others. - Receiving donations in a name other than the true name of the true donor, and failure to report the true name of the true donor; - Spending for an election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by law - Use of public funds and public resources for an election campaign.

        Section 68 of the OEC meanwhile, enumerates the acts that will cause a candidate to be disqualified from continuing as candidates, or if already elected, from holding office. This is without prejudice to their criminal liability.

        It should be noted that the failure to file a Statement of Election Contribution and Expenditures (SOCE) by candidates and political parties was also considered an election offense under the OEC (Sec 107 in relation to Section 262). This provision however, was repealed by Republic Act 7166 (Section 14), which downgraded the failure to file the SOCE to an administrative offense, instead of a criminal offense as provided by the OEC. Instead of imprisonment of one to six years, the penalties are thus as follows: - The candidate cannot assume office; If a political party failed to file its SOCE, its candidates will be prohibited from taking office; - Payment of administrative fines ranging from PhP1,000 – PhP30,000 (USD 23 – USD 686) - For the second or subsequent failure to file the SOCE, payment of PhP2,000 – PhP60,000 (USD46 – USD1,372) and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

        OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE Sec. 263. “Persons criminally liable. - The principals, accomplices, and accessories, as defined in the Revised Penal Code, shall be criminally liable for election offenses. If the one responsible be a political party or an entity, its president or head, the officials and employees of the same, performing duties connected with the offense committed and its members who may be principals, accomplices, or accessories shall be liable, in addition to the liability of such party or entity.”

        Sec. 264. “Penalties. - Any person found guilty of any election offense under this Code shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage. If he is a foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which shall be enforced after the prison term has been served. Any political party found guilty shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos, which shall be imposed upon such party after criminal action has been instituted in which their corresponding officials have been found guilty.”

        Sec. 68. Disqualifications. - Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws.

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166 “Sec. 14. Statement of Contributions and Expenditures; Effect of Failure to File Statement. - Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.

        No person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required. The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which nominated the winning candidate fails to file the statement required herein within the period prescribed by this Act.

        Except candidates for elective barangay office, failure to file the statements or reports in connection with electoral contributions and expenditures are required herein shall constitute an administrative offense for which the offenders shall be liable to pay an administrative fine ranging from One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) to Thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00), in the discretion of the Commission.

        The fine shall be paid within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice of such failure; otherwise, it shall be enforceable by a writ of execution issued by the Commission against the properties of the offender. It shall be the duty of every city or municipal election registrar to advise in writing, by personal delivery or registered mail, within five (5) days from the date of election all candidates residing in his jurisdiction to comply with their obligation to file their statements of contributions and expenditures.

        For the commission of a second or subsequent offense under this section, the administrative fine shall be from Two thousand pesos (P2,000.00) to Sixty thousand pesos (P60,000.00), in the discretion of the Commission. In addition, the offender shall be subject to perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

        For the 2013 elections, Comelec Resolution No. 9616 specified the “Unlawful Acts, Omissions and Activities Related to Campaign Finance and the Fair Election Act,” the person or entity that can be held liable, as well as the period when the act or omission is deemed unlawful (Section 7).

        In addition, Comelec Resolution 9558 amended the Campaign Finance Rules earlier issued by Comelec, by including a scale of administrative fines to be imposed on the candidate or party that fails to submit the SOCE.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 [National Law No. 881]), Dec. 3, 1985, Sections 261-264, and 98, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/OmnibusElectionCode

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” Nov. 26, 1991, Section 14, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

        COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 9616, GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS AS PROVIDED IN RESOLUTION NO. 9476 , AS AMENDED IN CONNECTION WITH THE 13 MAY 2013 NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND ALL SUBSEQUENT ELECTIONS THEREAFTER, Jan. 16, 2013, Section 7, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9616

        Comelec Resolution 9558, IN THE MATTER OF AMENDMENTS TO RESOLUTION NO. 9476, ALSO KNOWN AS THE RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND DISCLOSURE, Nov. 23, 2012, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9558

        Guia, Luie Tito, Basic Guide to the Laws and Rules Governing Election Finance in the Philippines, LIBERTAS-Lawyers’ League for Liberty, May 2007

        “Comelec wants return of jail term for failure to file Soces,” HDT/Sunnex, SunStar, Dec. 13, 2013, http://www.sunstar.com.ph/breaking-news/2013/12/13/comelec-wants-return-jail-term-failure-file-soces-318609

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        YES
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        The Philippine Constitution gives the Commission on Elections both the power to enforce and administer all laws relating to the conduct of elections, and decide on all contests relating to the elections.

        The Constitution also gives the Comelec the power to file, petitions in court and prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractice.

        1987 Philippine Constitution Article IX-C, Section 2. “The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions: 1. Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall. 2. Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction. Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable. 3. Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters. 4. Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections. 5. Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and accredit citizens' arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall not be registered. Those which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means, or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreign government shall likewise be refused registration. Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties, organizations, coalitions, or candidates related to elections, constitute interference in national affairs, and, when accepted, shall be an additional ground for the cancellation of their registration with the Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law. 6. File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices. 7. Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies. 8. Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to, its directive, order, or decision. 9. Submit to the President and the Congress, a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines Article IX-C Section 2, October 15, 1986 http://www.lawphil.net/consti/cons1987.html

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        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim says that for the 2013 elections, candidates in general, and senatorial candidates in particular, have complied with the payment of administrative fines imposed for late submission of the Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

        In fact, says Lim, who heads the Steering Committee on Campaign Finance, in December 2013, when Comelec published a list of 422 elected officials, political parties, and party-list groups that did not submit their SOCE after the extended deadline for submission on June 30, 2013, the Unit found itself suddenly swamped with thousands of report submissions and payment of fines for late filing, ironically even from candidates whose reports were not even deemed by the CFU to be problematic in the first place (Lim, July 28, 2014; Aquino, Dec. 18, 2013).

        According to Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, staff of Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, the CFU has collected P8,103,939.00 (USD 181,021.99) as penalty for late filing of the SOCE. The fees cover the period May-December 2014.

        Along with the list is an order for said officials to vacate their posts due to non-compliance of campaign finance rules (Commission on Elections, Nov. 27, 2013; Mangahas, Dec. 12, 2013; Mangahas, Dec. 13, 2013).

        But the way lawyer Rona Ann Caritos sees it, the fact that the deadline for filing of the SOCEs was extended several times is a reflection that candidates and political parties were not complying with the sanctions imposed. Caritos, who is part of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections, says this is because the penalty for the failure to submit SOCEs is merely the payment of administrative fines, which is too light, she says (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        Under Republic Act No. 7166, all candidates and political parties should file their SOCEs within 30 days after the elections. For the May 13, 2013 elections, the deadline was supposed to be June 13, 2013.

        On June 18, 2013, the Comelec published a compliance report of senatorial candidates and political parties regarding their submission of the SOCE by the June 13 deadline. Said compliance report revealed that only four of all 33 candidates for senator, and none of the winning senatorial candidates, fully complied with the SOCE reporting requirements (Minute Resolution No. 13-0775, June 18, 2013).

        However, because of “numerous requests for extension from the candidates and political groups,” the Comelec had extended the deadline for filing of SOCEs a number of times. The deadline was initially moved to June 30, 2013. Then, the Comelec announced that the new deadline for filing was May 12, 2014 (Manila Bulletin, Feb. 16, 2014). Then in May 2014, the Comelec again moved the deadline for filing and correcting deficiencies in the SOCEs already submitted. The new deadline given was June 30, 2014, or more than a year after the deadline set in law, (Crisostomo, May 17, 2014).

        In Resolution 9873 that Comelec promulgated May 15, 2014, or one year after the elections, Comelec also said that the adjustment was made “in the interest of promoting transparency and fair play in the electoral process by encouraging candidates and parties to fully and truthfully disclose their campaign contributions and expenditures,”

        Meanwhile, the order from Comelec for non-compliant elected officials to vacate their post went unheeded, as it is only the House of Representatives and the Department of the Interior and Local Government who have the power to enforce the order.

        In fact, even the provision in law that prohibits candidates who have not submitted their SOCEs from assuming office is not observed. Republic Act 7166 states: “No person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required” (Section 14). But before the Comelec was able to finish its campaign finance audit, elected officials were already allowed to assume office on June 30, 2013 (Villa, June 30, 2013).

        An exceptional case is that of ER Ejercito. ER Ejercito was disqualified by the Comelec en Banc and was forced to step down from his post. Ejercito appealed the case before the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court, on Nov. 25, 2014, upheld the Comelec's decision to disqualify Ejercito for campaign overspending (Rappler.com, Nov. 25, 2014).

        Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform observes however, that Comelec had opted for the easier option of extending the deadline for filing the reports, rather than go through the long motion of filing cases against these erring candidates (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The significant increase in the collection of fees due to failure of candidates/ parties to file their SOCE is validated by Atty. Rafanan. These are violations dating back to 2007, according to Atty. Rafanan. However, the rate of compliance is not yet available. There is also the difficulty of implementing harsher sanctions, such as disqualifications, as in the case of ER Ejercito.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interview conducted July 28, 2014.

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2014.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, Attorney IV, Office of Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, Commission on Elections, Dec. 17, 2014, explanation received via email.

        “SC upholds disqualification of Laguna Governor Ejercito,” Rappler.com, Nov. 25, 2014, http://www.rappler.com/nation/76056-sc-upholds-disqualification-laguna-governor-ejercito.

        Comelec Minute Resolution No. 13-0775, "IN THE MATTER OF THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMPLIANCE REPORT FOR SENATORIAL CANDIDATES AND THEIR POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE 2013 NATIONAL AND & LOCAL ELECTIONS," June 18, 2013, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/mr130775

        “66 of 422 officials in Comelec list now SOCE-compliant,” Leslie Ann Aquino, Manila Bulletin, Dec. 18, 2013, http://www.mb.com.ph/66-of-422-officials-in-comelec-list-now-soce-compliant/

        List of candidates who have failed to submit their campaign finance disclosure statement in relation to the 13 May 2013 National and Local Elections, Commission on Elections, Nov. 27, 2013, http://comelec.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/socelistfailedtosubmit.pdf

        424 DIDN’T FILE, FILED BAD ELECTION EXPENSE REPORTS: Comelec: 20 solons, 4 governors,26 mayors must vacate positions, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Dec. 12, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/comelec-20-solons-4-governors-26-mayors-must-vacate-positions/

        “Comelec’s 424: Negligence or ignorance of election laws?” Malou Mangahas, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Dec. 13, 2013, http://pcij.org/blog/2013/12/13/comelecs-424-negligence-or-ignorance-of-election-laws

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2104.

        6 senators miss deadline for expenditures report, Patricia De Leon, Solar News, June 14, 2013, http://www.solarnews.ph/featuredspecials/election2013/2013/06/14/6-senators-miss-deadline-for-expenditures-report

        Did they read rules at all? 30 Senate bets, pol parties file late, bad reports, Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, June 19, 2013, http://pcij.org/stories/did-they-read-rules-at-all-30-senate-bets-pol-parties-file-late-bad-reports/

        18,000 elected officials assume office, even as Comelec campaign expense audit not yet finished, Jet Villa, Interaksyon.com, June 30, 2013, http://www.interaksyon.com/article/65232/18000-elected-officials-assume-office-even-as-comelec-campaign-expense-audit-not-yet-finished

        “Comelec to go after bets who fail to file statement of contributions and expenditures twice,” Jet Villa, InterAksyon.com, June 13, 2013, http://www.interaksyon.com/article/63971/comelec-to-go-after-bets-who-fail-to-file-statement-of-contributions-and-expenditures-twice

        “Comelec extends deadline for late submission, correction of SOCEs,” Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star, May 17, 2014, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/05/17/1324082/comelec-extends-deadline-late-submission-correction-soces

        “Comelec sets May 12 SOCE filing deadline,” Manila Bulletin, Feb. 16, 2014, https://ph.news.yahoo.com/comelec-sets-may-12-soce-filing-deadline-184539723.html

        “Comelec extends deadline for late submission, correction of SOCEs,” Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star, May 17, 2014, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/05/17/1324082/comelec-extends-deadline-late-submission-correction-soces

        “Comelec sets May 12 SOCE filing deadline,” Manila Bulletin, Feb. 16, 2014, https://ph.news.yahoo.com/comelec-sets-may-12-soce-filing-deadline-184539723.html COMELEC Resolution No. 9873, IN RE: EXTENSION OF DEADLINE TO 30 JUNE 2014 FOR CORRECTION &/OR LATE SUBMISSION OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS & REPORTS BY CANDIDATES, POLITICAL PARTIES, & PARTY-LIST GROUPS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE 13 MAY 2013 NATIONAL & LOCAL ELECTIONS, promulgated May 15, 2014 http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Archives/RegularElections/2013NLE/Resolutions/res9873

        REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” Nov. 26, 1991, Section 14, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

        Reviewer's sources: Ferdinand Rafanan, Head, Campaign Finance Unit/ Director IV, Planning Department, Commission on Elections, interview conducted October 15, 2014

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        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        STRENGTH OF ENFORCEMENT The enforcement of campaign finance rules is “stronger than it has ever been,” says Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia, who, prior to being appointed as Comelec Commissioner, presented to the body a proposal for creating a campaign finance unit (Guia, Jan. 29, 2011; PCIJ, March 29, 2011).

        The strict enforcement of campaign finance rules in the 2013 elections, he says, “created an impact” because politicians were not expecting that the regulatory body would be as strict as it has been. Guia concedes though, that the Comelec needs to improve its process for “real-time findings” (Guia, July 24, 2014).

        Liberal Party General Counsel Raul A. Daza says that campaign finance regulations in the country have become “stronger” as evident in the disqualification case against Laguna governor ER Ejercito due to overspending and the imposition of fines by the Comelec against 11 senators because the expense reports that they filed were deficient (Daza, Aug. 26, 2014).

        Lawyer Rona Ann Caritos of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections concedes that enforcement of political finance is strong. But, she qualifies, that is only at the national level. At the local level, she says, enforcement is “still questionable” because many candidates, and even Comelec officers on the ground, are still not aware of the stricter mechanism. This is because during the 2013 elections, the campaign finance advocacy of the Comelec was focused on the national level, she says (Caritos, July 31, 2014).

        IMPEDIMENTS TO MORE EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT

        Guia observes that the structure of the Comelec is not prepared for it to implement and regulate campaign finance entirely effectively. He says the campaign finance unit that has been created in 2013 does not have clear resources. As a consequence, it does not have permanent employees and skills either.

        Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim -- the Commissioner tasked to oversee the CFU -- agrees. Lim says that the campaign finance process is a three-year cycle. Its continuity should be ensured to enable the unit to plan. Institutionalizing it, he says, can only be done by turning the unit into a department by law (Lim, July 28, 2014).

        The way Casiple sees it, the CFU will never become a department – and as a result, will remain deprived of resources and expertise on accounting – if the proposed Political Party Development bill will not become a law (refer to indicator no. 33 for a description of the bill) (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014) .

        Casiple also sees the quasi-judicial nature of Comelec – as provided by the Constitution – as a major impediment to the Comelec's effective administration of the elections and enforcement of election laws. Casiple estimates that Comelec spends some 70 percent to 90 percent of its efforts in litigating cases. Only 10 percent to 30 percent of its efforts are spent for its other functions. This is the reason, he explains, why at times, the Comelec would just issue an ‘omnibus resolution’ just before an upcoming election on several cases that are similar in nature (Casiple, Aug. 4, 2014).

        For Caritos, a major impediment to the effective enforcement of campaign finance laws lies in the administrative nature of the penalty for the failure to file the Statements of Election Contribution and Expenditure (SOCE). She recalls that the failure of candidates and political parties to file the SOCE was originally considered an election offense – which is a criminal offense -- under the Omnibus Election Code (Sec 107 in relation to Section 262). This provision however, was repealed in 1991 when Republic Act 7166 (Section 14) was enacted. Said law downgraded the failure to file the SOCE to an administrative offense, instead of a criminal offense as provided by the OEC. Instead of imprisonment of one to six years, the penalties became merely administrative in nature. Specifically: - The candidate cannot assume office; If a political party failed to file its SOCE, its candidates will be prohibited from taking office; - Payment of administrative fines ranging from PhP1,000 – PhP30,000 (USD 23 – USD 686) - For the second or subsequent failure to file the SOCE, payment of PhP2,000 – PhP60,000 (USD46 – USD1,372) and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

        This, she says, does not effectively deter candidates and political parties from not filing their SOCE. And because the Comelec’s authority as far as the non-filing of SOCEs is concerned is merely to impose fines, the Commission was forced to conform to the whims of the candidates and political parties and move the deadline for SOCE submission several times.

        MOST URGENT REFORMS The sources interviewed consider the following reform measures most urgent for an effective enforcement of campaign finance laws (the measures are in no particular order):

        1. AMENDMENT OF LAWS GOVERNING CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

        For Guia, it is urgent to update the legal framework, specifically the legal provisions that govern the caps on campaign expenses to make them more realistic, especially for local positions. The law should also provide caps on contributions and make the provisions governing political ads and the counting of advertising minutes, clearer.

        Like Guia, Lim says that the current spending caps are unrealistic and that they only encourage candidates to lie. He qualifies however that candidates and political parties “should not be allowed to receive more than they are allowed to spend.” He sees the need to have a clear formula for setting the spending cap; one that is flexible rather than the current one which is uniform.

        The Liberal Party for its part, also considers it “urgent and practical” to increase the allowed campaign expenditures. In fact one of the party’s members, Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr., has filed a bill in the Lower House that seeks to increase the ceiling for campaign expenditures in order to address “the alleged understatement of campaign expenses by candidates in their SOCEs,” Daza explains (Daza, Aug, 26, 2014).

        Caritos adds that the grey areas with regard to prohibited contributions should also be clarified. For instance, there are companies that are prohibited by law from making campaign donations. However, the law is less clear when it comes to the directors of such companies. Caritos says that the law should state clearly that those who have a stake in a company that is banned from donating to candidates, should also not be allowed to donate.

        1. STRENGTHENING THE CAPACITY OF COMELEC BY CREATING A PERMANENT CAMPAIGN FINANCE DEPARTMENT

        Guia considers it urgent to strengthen the capacity of Comelec by creating a permanent department, and allocating resources to it for capacity building. While Guia acknowledges that the structure of Comelec is defined under the Administrative Code, he says that the Comelec may explore the transformation of the CFU into a department under the restructuring scheme of Comelec. This, of course, is for approval of the Civil Service Commission and for funding by the Department of Budget and Management.

        Caritos shares Guia’s view. The way she sees it, the current law that prohibits Comelec from creating a new department should not be a deterrent, as Comelec can transform an existing department into one that is campaign finance-focused.

        1. REVERT TO THE ORIGINAL PENALTY OF IMPRISONMENT FOR NON-SUBMISSION OF THE SOCE

        Caritos says that mere imposition of administrative fines is not enough to deter candidates and political parties from not filing their SOCE. Caritos’s view is shared by the Chairman of the Commissioner himself, who openly challenged Congress to restore the penalty for non-filing of the SOCE to jail terms (Villa, Dec. 13, 2013; Santos, Dec. 14, 2013).

        1. AMENDMENT OF COMELEC RESOLUTION 9476 OR THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES. Lim says that the provisions on submission deadlines should be amended and Comelec should make sure not to extend the deadline for filing SOCEs. Local candidates, meanwhile, should directly submit their SOCEs to the CFU in Manila instead of to the local Comelec offices in order to shield local Comelec officers from possible influence by local politicians.

        2. AMENDMENT OF THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM ‘CANDIDATE’. Lim says that under the law, the prohibitions will only apply to a candidate at the start of the official campaign period, which starts in February for national candidates. This is even as the candidate has already filed his Certificate of Candidacy in October of the previous year.

        Lim says that the definition of the term 'candidate' in law needs to be amended so that the prohibitions would apply to a candidate from the moment he files his Certificate of Candidacy.

        1. REFORMING THE POLITICAL PARTY SYSTEM AND STRENGTHENING POLITICAL PARTIES (see indicator no. 33)

        2. AMENDMENT OF THE QUASI-JUDICIAL NATURE OF COMELEC AS PROVIDED IN THE CONSTITUTION. Casiple says that the quasi-judicial functions of Comelec should be removed so that it could focus on the administration of elections and enforcement of election laws.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Philippine electoral politics remains elitist. Only very few can run and win elections. Political clans and dynasties continue to rule the country causing the over-concentration of power in the hands of a few. New names and faces may have emerged, but they generally fit a distinct profile: they come from the upper class, predominantly male, from Luzon and Visayas, Christian, and without a clear and solid platform for governance and development. Thus, the “trapos” (traditional politicians) remain in power. There are a few from non-mainstream political parties and social movements who have entered government through the Party-List System, but they have yet to become a strong and game-changer.

        This affects governance and democracy. Pressure from particularistic interests continues to be strong. Patron-client relationships remain prevalent fueling corruption and disempowerment. Such context makes it hard for the rule of law to prevail. It's a situation of weak institutions unable to withstand particularistic pressures to effectively enforce laws.

        The following are some of the specific measures needed that can strengthen the enforcement of campaign finance laws:

        • Address the legal gaps. First, there is a need to set a limit on campaign contribution. This is a major gap in the legal framework that enables Comelec to keep the impact of money on elections at a minimum. Second, there should be a way to regulate expenditures and activities of would-be candidates and parties outside the campaign period. It seems pointless to regulate spending at a short period of time (during campaigns), while allowing unabated spending for most parts of the election season.
        • Improve transparency and accountability of Philippine campaign finance. Collaborative efforts among Comelec, concerned government offices and CSOs for monitoring during and after the campaigns, including what’s happening in the ground to prevent activities such as vote-buying, must be pursued. There should be greater transparency in the buying and selling of ad placements in media. Compliance of media and contributors to campaign finance rules must also be further scrutinized.
        • Pass a realistic spending cap. As rightly pointed out by those interviewed by the researcher, the enforcement is also made seemingly impossible by the unrealistic spending cap that forces candidates and parties to lie on their Statement of Campaign Expenditures (SOCE).
        • Pass the party reform bill. The bills provides for state subsidy for parties. This does not only support parties to become independent from politicians who are its only source of funding, it also serves as a mechanism to promote accountability in parties. The provision on state subsidy may serve as an entry point for the government to more comprehensively look at the financial system of parties as part of its auditing of state finances.
        • Pass the anti-dynasty law. Even with effective regulation of campaign finance, money politics will continue to dominate elections if dynasties will continue to be allowed to run. Political families in the Philippines that have occupied positions of power simultaneously for a long time are also the richest families. With both economic and political resources concentrated in the hands of a few, there will hardly be any fair political competition in Philippine elections.
        • Review the dual mandate of the Comelec. Placing both extra-judicial and management functions on just one body to attend to all election-related matters could be too burdening. This is likely causing the inefficiencies in the management of elections, including the regulation of campaign finance.
        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources

        Luie Tito F. Guia, “A Concept Paper on Establishing a Campaign Finance Unit in the Commission on Elections,” Jan. 29, 2011, http://luieguia.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/a-concept-paper-on-establishing-a-campaign-finance-unit-in-the-commission-on-elections/

        Christian Robert S. Lim, Commissioner, Commission on Elections, interviewed July 28, 2014

        Rona Ann Caritos, Acting Executive Director, Legal Network for Truthful Elections, interview conducted July 31, 2014.

        Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, interview conducted Aug. 4, 2014.

        Raul A. Daza, General Counsel, Liberal Party, interview answers received via email Aug. 26, 2014.

        “Comelec kickstarts plan for campaign finance unit,” Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, March 29, 2011, http://pcij.org/blog/2011/03/29/comelec-kickstarts-plan-for-campaign-finance-unit REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” Nov. 26, 1991, Section 14, http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedNationalandLocal/RA7166

        Brillantes dares Congress to restore jail terms for SOCE violators, Jet Villa, InterAksyon.com, December 13, 2013, http://www.interaksyon.com/article/76801/brillantes-dares-congress-to-restore-jail-terms-for-soce-violators

        Comelec chief wants stiffer penalties for erring execs, Tina G. Santos, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec. 14, 2013, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/545895/comelec-chief-officials-must-comply-with-law

The Philippines has a presidential system with a directly elected president and a bicameral legislature. The president is elected for six year terms, of which he may serve only one. Campaign funds for presidents are managed at both the party and candidate level, as both actors contribute to electoral spending.

The legislature is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Direct elections for both Chambers are held every three years.

The Senate has 24 members who serve six year terms (every three years, 12 Senate seats are up for reelection). Senators may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms, but there is no limit to the total number of terms they can have.

Senators are elected through single-member, first-past-the-post voting, wherein the top 12 senators who will garner the most number of votes (among candidates for senator) will be proclaimed winners.

Responsibility for the management of funds in Senate electoral campaigns is shared between parties and candidates.

The House of Representatives is composed of District representatives and party-list representatives. In the current 16th Congress, the House of Representatives has 290 members, of whom 234 are district representatives and 56 are party lists representatives from 41 party list groups.

Members of the House serve three year terms, with a limit of three consecutive terms. District representatives are directly elected in their respective legislative districts--the candidate receiving the most votes in his district is proclaimed the winner. During the last elections, the Philippines was divided into 234 legislative single member districts. Campaign funds in elections for district representatives are managed by both parties and candidates.

20% of the members of the House must be elected via party-lists. In addition to the vote they cast for district representatives, voters on election day also cast a vote for a party-list group. The percentage of votes cast for each party-list group is computed in relation to the total number of votes cast for party-list groups nationwide. Parties are then ranked from highest to lowest, and a maximum of three seats may be allowed per party. "Seats are allocated at the rate of one seat per 2% of votes obtained, unallocated seats shall be distributed among the parties which have not yet obtained the maximum of three seats, provided they have mustered at least 2% of votes; and the variance of percentage in excess of 2% or 4% (equivalent to 1 or 2 seats that have already been obtained, respectively) shall be ranked and be the basis for allocating the remaining seats." (Comelec's Primer on the Party List System of Representation) Campaign funds are managed by parties.

Midterm legislative elections were most recently held in May 2013, and the most recent presidential election occurred in May 2010.