MANILA,  JUNE 15, 2004
President Arroyo has until June 30 to furnish the Commission on Elections with a personal statement of campaign contributions and expenditures, Comelec Commissioner Resurreccion Borra said yesterday.

Otherwise, the President could be disqualified from assuming the nation’s top post if she is proclaimed winner in the May 10 elections, Borra warned.

The President had earlier submitted to the Comelec an audit report of her political coalition, which stated that she spent P333 million for her campaign — the highest amount among the five presidential candidates.

But the Comelec pointed out that the statement came from the Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4), which fielded Mrs. Arroyo as its standard-bearer.

Borra said the law requires separate statements from the candidate and the political party.

"The law says so," Borra said. "As the No. 1 citizen of the Republic, she should be the first to follow the law."

Mrs. Arroyo’s term expires on June 30, the day newly elected officials are scheduled to assume office.

The President, through her election lawyer, filed an election audit report a day before the deadline set by the Comelec on June 10.

It showed the President spent P333 million in a span of three months to finance her campaign for a full six-year term.

Borra said he would discuss with the other Comelec commissioners today how to go about enforcing the law as several candidates have failed to comply with the


All candidates — from the national to the local level, winners or losers — are required by law to submit a statement of campaign contributions and expenditures within 30 days after any election.

Based on those who submitted their expenditures so far, none of the candidates overspent. Otherwise, this would have been a ground for disqualification.

Failure to submit a report, on the other hand, is punishable by a fine on the first offense, while a second offense could result in disqualification from holding office.

In the audit report earlier filed with the Comelec, it showed that the President’s top individual donor - with a whopping P30 million - was Pancho Villaraza, one of the partners of the law firm closely associated with her family.

The President reported total expenses of P333.36 million,

P326.48 million of which came from campaign contributions.

Her biggest expenses were for radio and television advertisements, reaching P140 million.

She spent P86 million for poll watchers on election day.

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye has noted that Mrs. Arroyo’s expenses were well below the limit set by the country’s election laws. – Jose Aravilla

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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