Filipinos should know whose money politicians are using

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The presidential candidates are Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Mar Roxas, Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte.

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Except for Senator Miriam Santiago, all of them have been spending a lot of money for print ads, tarpaulin and other kinds of posters, radio and TV jingles, commercials and documentaries, social media postings. Collectively they have already spent scores of billions for their campaign and are expected to spend much more until the elections in May.

We, the public, can guess that the very rich ones among them are spending some of their own money. Or in the case of Mar Roxas, using his money, as well as money from the gigantic vault of the Liberal Party, which has been enriched by President Aquino, Budget Secretary Abad and Transport and Communications Secretary Abaya (who is the LP big boss.)

But even Mar Roxas and Vice-President Binay, we are sure, get financial contributions from wealthy individuals and corporations. Who are these?

And of course, Senator Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are also receiving contributions. Who are their donors?

And who are the very powerful persons, said to have inexhaustible bank accounts, who have been whispered about as the backers not just of Mrs. Poe-Llamanzares’ vote-getting campaign nationwide but also of the expensive legal effort to make her qualified to run for president if she is clearly not qualified if the election laws and the Constitution are obeyed? This legal effort is rumored to now involve billions to make sure that—God forbid—some of the Supremes decide to oppose the correct and moral stand on her citizenship and residency disqualification.

In the United States many citizens are also demanding to know who the moneybags of the candidates are.

Below is the wise and high-minded editorial that the Seattle Times published on Tuesday Feb. 2 and which we are allowed to reprint as a member of the TNS group of contributor newspapers.

Americans should know who’s funding political TV ads
Television watchers need to brace themselves for the worst this election season.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to be poured into political ads narrated by ominous voices and designed to influence voters’ ballot choices.

Some commercials, paid for by campaigns, will conclude with candidates saying they approve the message. Viewers should be extra skeptical of any ads brought to them by independent political action committees with benign sounding names like Priorities USA Action, Believe Again, Unintimidated PAC and Right to Rise USA.

Such names reveal nothing about who the true sponsors of the advertisements really are. The Federal Communications Commission, which seems to turn a blind eye, should require more transparency and has the authority to do so:

—Section 315 of the Communications Act requires broadcast stations to identify sponsors of political ads in files available for public viewing. Not every station is complying, according to extensive research by civic watchdog groups, such as the Sunlight Foundation, the Campaign Legal Center and Common Cause.

—Section 317 requires advertisers and broadcasters to disclose to viewers and listeners the “true identity” of the person, group or entity paying for a political ad.

Many don’t, and the FCC has failed to enforce this rule.

Last week, 168 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter urging FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to quickly require that broadcasters reveal the names of political-ad sponsors on the air.

According to OpenSecrets.org, conservative groups by far dominate this type of campaign advertising.

Democracy is weakened when influence over the public airwaves is controlled by dark-money groups, whether on the right or the left, which have the power to raise and spend unlimited funds.

Citizens have a right to know when and why mega-rich individuals, such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the industrialist Koch brothers, pour their wealth into advocacy. That’s why the FCC must do more as a regulator to restore trust in American democracy by ensuring campaign commercials are more transparent.

©2016 THE SEATTLE TIMES / DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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6 Comments

  1. pakialamero na pinoy on

    Politicians are spending tons of money from big time political contributors, except maybe for Binay, because he still have tons of money in his warehouse in Makati.

    To Mr. Dante C. Valencia, you were declared as a nuisance candidate because, the COMELEC feels that you do not have fund to sustain a campaign, do not have a platform on your candidacy, and probably you are not well versed on Philippine politics. You probably didn’t have anything on your resume’, like experience in leading or managing people or workforce. I can tell from your writings that you also have difficulties in expressing yourself, and your grammar is also limited, like myself. The only thing that you probably have going for you is your good looks. Don’t feel bad, just move on.

  2. I am Dante Valencia, the No. 8 in the list of Presidential Candidates. Is anybody in the media interested of my bold and hot expose regarding the very bad scenario this coming elections and why I am being intentionally eased out from the list by declaring me as Nuisance Candidate despite submission of credible and concrete evidence that I am not Nuisance Candidate and that Comelec violated our Constitution and had committed grave abuse of discretion in cancelling my Certificate of Candidacy ? So huge corruption and big money involved in deed and really maybe its not their own money. You can contact me at my email address: valencia_dante@yahoo.com./ 09196629963.Ty

  3. First of all, Koch is not spending for advocacy or a cause they are spending their millions to protect their interests/ businesses. As for the expenses incurred by our candidates, hasn’t it been this way for a very very long time when candidates spend money without being open to the public where the money came from? So why start only today? maybe late is better than never but, if this article is targeting only certain candidates, that would be unfair. Roxas who is the biggest spender and binay, should be the first to come up as to who are their contributors are and how much did they contribute. There should be accounting on the money received. Or, there should be a cap as to how much a candidate can receive from a donor. That way, it levels the playing field, with about the same money for spending, the electorate can choose their candidates without the influence of money.

  4. As if you MT doesn’t know who these rich donors are. You are the paragon of journalism and with MT existence of about eon of years, still pretending knowing nothing. I do not believe an iota of reasoning that MT was left on the know (journalism jargon for tatanga-tanga). MT don’t play dumb and let the citizenry know who these rich donors to campaign funds are. Or that is another story for your paper to sell…

  5. ALMARIO G. ESTRADA on

    that’s what matters to you…..hindi kaya katngahan yan?!… isipin mo nalang kung anong gustong kapalit ng taong nag sponsor sa iyo…… ang baba ng morale at sentido comon mo!?…

  6. In my own opinion, it doesnt matter much on who’s backing them. Poe clearly stated all she would give her donors is a level-playing field. That’s what matters.