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Legislating Campaign Finance Reforms in the Philippines: Applying Lessons from Japan

Reforming campaign finance policy is a powerful tool not only in regulating expenditures of candidates and political parties but also in addressing omissions and loopholes in the existing policies. Current campaign finance policy in the Philippines fails to address problems not only in elections but also its negative repercussions to sound democratic governance. The lack of provisions on contribution limits and public subsidies, as well as outdated expenditure limits, has opened pathways for money politics to corrupt Philippine elections. This policy paper proposes reforms in the campaign finance policies in the Philippines, particularly the review of the limits on election-related expenditure, the introduction of a cap in campaign contributions per contributor, and the allotment of subsidies from the Government, as well as the appropriate reinforcement of oversight capabilities of the Commission of Elections (COMELEC). The comparative approach is referenced in discussing the reform prescriptions for the Philippines. The electoral policy experience in Japan is used as a comparative model to formulate the appropriate campaign finance reforms. Furthermore, the discussion of reforms is primarily focused on the election of candidates for national positions.


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