MANILA, Philippines — Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno who is seeking the presidency in the upcoming polls is not in favor of returning excess campaign funds to donors.
During the presidential debate hosted by CNN Philippines on Sunday, the candidates present were asked to raise their hands if they are willing to return their unused campaign funds.
Of the nine presidential candidates present, only Moreno kept his hand down.
“Because I have to be fair with the Filipino people. Hindi ako nagsauli ng binigay sa aking tulong sa kampanya na sobra ngunit tinupad ko ang aking tungkulin bilang mamamayan na magbayad ng buwis,” he explained.
(I did not return the excess campaign funds but I fulfilled my duty as a citizen to pay for taxes.)
“That’s why, wala pong (there is no) moral ascendancy to answer the question in favor. So, I have to remain of what I have done in the past and I don’t know what I’m going to do in the future and I hope that someday, somehow, the new sets of Congress — the Senate and Congress — for that matter should pass a law that should requires these kinds of questions later on. So that we can resolve it properly and fairly. What matter most, you pay your tax,” he further pointed out.
Moreno earlier revealed that he did return to donors at least P50 million contributed for his 2016 senatorial campaign.
Under the Bureau of Internal Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 31-2019, unused or excess campaign funds “shall be considered as subject to income tax and as such, must be included in their/his taxable income as stated in their/his Income Tax Return (ITR).”
Commission on Elections Resolution No. 9991 likewise stated that “any unexpended balance from any contribution to candidate or party, also known as excess contributions, shall be subject to income tax.”
Aside from Moreno, also present in the debate were former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, labor leader Leody De Guzman, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Faisal Mangondato, Jose Montemayor, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., declined to attend the event.
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