Monday, January 25, 2010

Philippine Election 101 - Paid for by Friends of (Insert Name)

Election is coming and we see a lot of commercials in newspapers, television and radio that features one or two candidates. They don't tell what they run for but it's too obvious. Unless you've been living under the rock for the past two years, these candidates are aiming for the highest position in the land, vice-president, senator or any of the positions in your area.

In every advertisement about the candidate (printed or not) we always something that goes like this:

"Paid for by friends of"

This means someone paid for the commercial instead of the candidate. This also means the presidential candidates are the friendliest people in the land because they have so many friends willing to pay for these ads.

I was a bit curious and I researched why did this happen. While I did not get direct responses online, I found out that candidates are limited on their campaign funds. By law the presidential candidate is only allowed to spend PHP10 per registered voter. There are more than 40 million voters in the country which means each candidate should spend around 400 million.

400 million per candidate is a lot but think about it - ad spots in various media outlets costs a lot. It's even a conservative estimate that a candidate might spend half a million in television, radio and newspaper ads every day. They also have to spend on travel and pay a lot of people to work for them. 400 million is never enough.

One way they might skirt this limitation is to simply add the phrase "paid for by" if everything is paid for by their friends, it might look like they did not spend anything at all.

So what do you think? Are they really friendly enough or just trying to make things complicated?

1 comment:

PilipinoPoAko said...

HOW, REALLY, DID MANUEL BAMBA VILLAR, JR. GET TO BE RICH? It may bear and serve the Filipino nation well to investigate and know that Manny Villar may actually have broken through Tondo-ragged accountancy to billionaire-rich presidentiable by allowing himself to be used as a foreign investor’s dummy in the Philippine real estate business. You see, the conduct of real estate business in the Philippines is made exclusive by law to Filipino citizens, necessarily because it involves business affairs that affect sensitive issues about territory, patrimony, and national security. Wasn’t that a debonair American who was smilingly visible every day at the offices of Crown Asia, Inc., way back before the Villars became political aspirants? Unfortunately, sighting that American presence at the Crown Asia, Inc. organization deteriorates to zero visibility in hot election weather, especially nowadays! As Manny Villar embarked on a political career, it naturally became strategically imperative to avoid flaks of damaging controversy about being economically beholden to foreign influence, especially from nationalist camps of the likes of then Senator Teofisto Guingona Jr. who was one among those instrumental in passing the general law limiting the conduct of real estate business in the Philippines to Filipinos only. In fact, it was from 1997 to 1999 that the bespactacled, middle-aged, happy American investor (silent or express?) of Crown Asia, Inc. was last regularly observed at the 18th Floor of Cityland Herrera Tower. Most of us often have "humble," sometimes "rotten," beginnings; yet being transparent about such beginnings can do more good than harm. Perhaps good Senator Manuel Villar may want to comment on this matter at this time?