If Negros Occidental Board Member-elect Rolando Ponsica is to be believed, he has not spent any personal funds for his campaign during the May 13 election, yet, he still won.
Provincial Elections Supervisor Wil Arceño yesterday said that Ponsica declared not a single expense or contribution, when he filed his Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures before the deadline ended 5 p.m. Thursday.
“I would assume that he rode on the expenses of his political party,” Arceño said.
Ponsica, former Escalante mayor, belongs to the Nationalist People's Coalition party, that supported the gubernatorial bid of Vice-Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr., including reelected Board Member Renato Gustilo (NPC) in the first district of Negros Occidental.
Ironically, the top three biggest poll spenders for board member aspirants were Jose Maria Astorga (3rd District), Ramon Gonzaga (4th District) and Janet Villafranca (5th District) lost in the elections.
Astorga spent P339,253.52, Gonzaga - P259,000 and Villafranca - P226,078.53.
Of the 43 provincial bets, six failed to submit their SECEs on time, Comelec records also showed. They were Leopoldo Sua, who ran for congressman in the 1st district, congressional candidate Leonardo Erobas (4th district), board member aspirants Ely Joy Barredo and Leonardo Magbanua Sr. (2nd district), Arturo Alvarez (4th district) and Francis Gerard Tuvilla (5th district).
All of them lost in the election, Arceño said.
Based on the SECEs they had filed, gubernatorial candidate Alvarez was the highest spender with P1,893,919.39, followed by reelected Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. with P1,776,601.91.
Reelected Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (3rd district) spent P811,196.27, while outgoing Board Member Nehemias de la Cruz Sr., who ran for congressman in the 1st district, incurred total expenses of P500,000.
Arceño said the Campaign Finance Unit of the Comelec Law Department in Manila will determine the validity on SECE claims of candidates, by making a double check on their contracts with media outlets, among others.
He, however, said they have noted that all the 43 candidates in the province, excluding mayors, vice-mayors and councilor aspirants spent below the normal expenses required by the Comelec.
To those who failed to submit their SECEs, Arceño said they can expect letters from the Comelec, requiring them to pay the prescribed fines, which is P10,000 for a board member aspirant, and between P20,000 to P30,000 for a congressional candidate.
Congressional candidate Jose Carlos Lacson (3rd district) spent P284,991.18, Ike Barredo incurred expenses of P209,773.17 against the P479,994 of reelected Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer (4th district), Emilio Yulo III also spent P119,890 against the P495,650 of reelected Rep. Alejandro Mirasol (5th district), while reelected Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (6th district) spent P354,286.14 against the P140,000 of Philip Arles.
The United Negros Alliance, a political party of Marañon, reported P517,778.83 expenses, while the NPC failed to submit its SECE.
Arceño said the NPC may have submitted it to Manila, together with the other political parties.*GPB