The lack of specific laws on the use of excess campaign donations has led to windfall income for some candidates.
Three aspirants for president, one for vice president and 16 for senator did not submit their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures.
The supporters of both former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo were enthusiastic nationwide. But the turnout for Marcos was sensational even in areas where Robredo dominated.
Based on candidates’ SOCEs, former senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, who ran under the opposition Liberal Party, had the biggest social media spending during the 2019 polls. He was followed by Duterte’s long-time aide Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who spent P5.57 million solely on Facebook during the official 90-day campaign period.
Presidential candidate Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo spent a total of P14.1 million across three Facebook pages.
The campaign period, which began on Feb. 8, saw the banning of reporters in campaign events, refusal by candidates to attend media-hosted debates, a spate of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on news websites, and online hostility against news organizations and reporters.
Among the elected senators joining the 18th Congress in 2019, Sen. Cynthia Villar was the richest with P3.72 billion in total assets with no liability. First-time Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go was the poorest with only P15.51 million in net worth, Senate records showed. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has collated the wealth details immediately preceding senators’ election in office in 2019. These are based on the certified summaries of their Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) provided by the Senate.
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.
Of the more than 60 million registered voters in the 2019 elections, only 394 individuals funded the campaigns of elected senators, with their contributions averaging at P2.9 million each.
Party-list organizations spent P1.54 billion on ad placements alone, data from media monitoring agency Nielsen show. This was P400 million more than the combined total contributions to winning senators in the same polls, which was pegged at P1.14 billion.