Roxas, Angara spent most on 2019 pol ads -- Nielsen
By Cherry Salazar
Defeated Liberal Party bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II was the top ad spender among all national and local candidates, according to Nielsen’s report, with P782.98 million in total ad spend. This covered a total of 15,778 ads — 15,080 of which were placed on radio, while the remaining 698 aired on TV.
The Nielsen report is based on the group’s monitoring of candidates’ campaign materials across various platforms during the election period, and is computed according to published advertising rate cards sans law-mandated discounts. The actual paid amount may thus be lower.
The second biggest ad spender was Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, with P637.84 million in total ad spend. This was spread among 1,430 television commercials that cost P444.67 million in total; 16,321 radio commercials amounting to P193.17 million; and one print advertisement worth P6,272.
Angara also placed the most number of campaign materials among all candidates during the 2019 polls, and he had the most exposure time on television among senatorial bets, with 21,450 seconds.
Re-electionist Cynthia Villar took the third spot, with P619.6 million in total ad spend. Villar, wife to business tycoon and former politician Manuel or “Manny,” personally funded her electoral campaign and received no contributions, according to her 2019 Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).
Running as senator for the first time, Francis Tolentino allotted P555.32 million for ad spots. But unlike all other political candidates during the 2019 polls, Tolentino invested in the print medium with 48 placements, amounting to P601,548 — the highest number of and spending on print ads, according to Neilsen data.
Other senatorial candidates who overspent, based on published advertising rates, were JV Ejercito (P517.23 million), Imee Marcos (P430.95 million), Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. (P363.56 million), and Jinggoy Estrada (P352.19 million).
Long-time assistant to President Rodrigo Duterte and political neophyte, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, placed P334.7 million worth of political ads.
Despite a disqualification case for the supposed non-submission of his SOCE for the 2010 and 2016 elections, Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III ran for senator in 2019 and spent P297.18 million for his political ads.
The total ad spend of Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV (P296.62 million), Grace Poe (P286.88 million), Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa (P243.83 million), Juan Ponce Enrile (P230.5 million), Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (P224.92 million), and Pia Cayetano (P201.27 million) also ran over campaign spending caps, based on data from Nielsen.
Under Republic Act 7166, a candidate can only spend P3 for every voter registered in the constituency where he/she filed a certificate of candidacy. Meanwhile, those without any political party or support from any political party may spend P5 for every voter.
During the 2019 polls, Comelec data showed that there were 61,843,771 registered voters in the Philippines and 1,822,173 Filipino voters overseas. This puts the maximum campaign expenditures for senatorial candidates, with party support, at P190 million.
The Fair Election Code or Republic Act 9006, also mandates media outlets to charge discount rates of 30 percent for television, 20 percent for radio, and 10 percent for print for campaign ads of candidates.
The senatorial candidates with the least amount of ad placements, according to the Nielsen report, were Partido Federal ng Pilipinas candidate, Elmer Francisco, who placed a singular print ad that costed him P8,302; United Nationalist Alliance candidate Dan Roleda, with six print ads worth P77,198; and Labor Party Philippines candidate Jose Sonny Matula with four ads totaling P98,358.
Francisco, Roleda, and Matula were also the only senatorial candidates who placed less than a million pesos’ worth of ad placements. — with research assistance from Macel Pagdanganan, Sofia Bernice Navarro and Kyla Ramos, PCIJ, September 2021
Explore the Nielsen political ad spending data here.