Rebuffs & denials

PCIJ tried to reach the political parties and candidates involved, with varying levels of success. Attempts to pin down Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, for example, were rebuffed. According to his staff, they are simply too busy and referred PCIJ to the Liberal Party.

Lawyer Doris G. Ramirez, deputy director general for finance and legal affairs of the LP replied by SMS that read in part: “(Our) report to Comelec is the true representation of what the Liberal Party as political party spent. With regards to the ads of other party-lists, those were not donations to Liberal Party nor is LP in any manner involved in it.”

For Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile sent a letter to PCIJ by post, saying that “as Chairman Emeritus of the PMP, I am not involved in the administrative and financial affairs of the Party, my position being honorary in nature. I have, therefore, endorsed your letter to PMP’s treasurer, Mr. Jesse M. Ejercito, who can better give you the information that you need.”

Ejercito has yet to respond to PCIJ’s queries. PMP’s office could not also be reached because its listed number is “not yet assigned.”

In the meantime, a written query to Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) regarding the discrepancy between its ad expenditure based on the network contracts and what it declared in its SECE yielded two letters of apology — one addressed to PDP-Laban president Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III, and the other, to Comelec. The letters were signed by Mando Cosio, media director of Media Force Vizeum, the accredited media buyer for PDP-Laban and Jejomar Binay.

The letters state:

“We deeply apologize to the PDP-Laban and the Commission on Elections for the error committed by our agency with respect to the broadcast orders and placement of end tags for the television advertisements during the campaign period.”

“Because of an oversight, some broadcast orders and end tags were incorrectly credited to PDP-Laban.”

“However, we attest that the total airtime credited to Jejomar C. Binay are within the total airtime allowed by law for national candidates.”

Nothing in the letters explained why PDP-Laban did not declare any TV ad expenditure in its SECE. In fact, what they seemed to indicate was that there were still other TV ads credited to PDP Laban, which it did not declare in its SECE.

Quezon Representative and Lakas-Kampi-CMD treasurer Danilo E. Suarez, when asked about the absence of any political ad expenditure in Teodoro’s SECE, said he could not answer for the former defense secretary, who was still in the United States. But Suarez said that it was the party that raised funds and paid for Teodoro’s ads and his other election expenses, i.e., printing of election materials. Aside from Teodoro, Lakas also shouldered expenses of its senatorial candidates, he said.

Suarez , however, acknowledged that the money spent by the party for its presidential bet is considered as “donation” to Teodoro. – PCIJ, August 2010