Barring last-minute surprises in the election count, the Noynoy-Nognog tandem will lead the next casting at Malacañang Palace in the next six years, according to funny-boned Filipinos.
Nognog, dark-skinned Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay in real life, will also be installed as the country’s “first black vice president,” they say.
THIS presidential campaign is turning out to be the most expensive yet in Philippine political history, but it is also a story of two extremes – profligacy and penny-pinching on political advertisements by the candidates.
In just the two months since the official campaign period began last February 9, six candidates for president racked up a daily average ad spending total of P10.5 million, or almost P633 million in 60 days. By contrast, the remaining three candidates had a total tri-media ad bill of zero, with data by media monitoring company Nielsen failing to yield a single print or broadcast spot bought by any of them.
IT’S A disconcerting paradox to say the least: In their avowed desire to serve in the highest office of the land, the top two candidates for president – Senator Manuel B. Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party and Senator Benigno S. Aquino III of the Liberal Party – are now being packaged and sold in the same way profit-driven firms market shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, diaper, infant formula, noodles, drugs for colds and diarrhea, mobile phone cards, beer, and whiskey.
These days, the number of Filipino Internet users is pegged at around 24 million and mobile phone users at around 63 million. Not surprisingly, candidates for both national and local posts have taken interest on those figures, and have been busy putting up complex, interactive websites of their own, even as they litter popular online publications, blogs, and social networks with political propaganda. Text-blasting, or the sending of unsolicited SMS messages, appears to be on the rise as well.
IN THE unnervingly expensive race for the Philippine presidency, the candidates who splurge are those less open to discussing their campaign spending, while candidates who spend the least are the most open to talking about their finances.
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) managed to ask most of the presidential candidates about their positions on various issues involving campaign finance: where they get their campaign money, their major donors, and their expenses.
THEY probably thought they got a free pass to flood television with political ads beyond the airtime and spending limits set in law, having run commercials before the 90-day campaign period could start last February 9.
But the top candidates for president and vice president, as well as those who donated and bankrolled their pre-campaign ads, had better think again, according to lawyers and officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Source: Nielsen Media
JUST a mere month into the 90-day official campaign period, three presidential candidates have already used up more than half of their allowed ad airtime in the country’s two top networks.
This is even as data from media monitoring agency Nielsen Media indicate a relatively tempered ad-spending among the candidates, compared to the three months prior to the start of the campaign period.
HE has racked up nearly a billion pesos worth of TV ad spots, by network rate cards, in the last three months alone, but indications are that Nacionalista Party standard bearer Senator Manuel ‘Manny’ Villar Jr. can comfort himself that so far every centavo of that has been money well spent.
IF the law on campaign spending and political advertising were imposed before the official campaign period began last week, one presidential candidate would have already overspent in the past three months alone, even as he joins four others who would have exceeded the broadcast limit for TV.
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