Who has spent the most money on campaign ads?

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(L-R) Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, Mar Roxas, Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — How much do election candidates spend daily for their political advertisements?

According to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the average amount is P54 million every day.

That's P2.25 million every hour during the first 50 days of the election campaign period which lasts 90 days.

PCIJ said this could turn out to be the costliest elections in Philippine history.

The PCIJ report was based on Nielsen Media's monitoring of ads placed on TV, radio, and print media and the corresponding rates for each from February 9 to March 31, 2016.

The campaign-spending limit set by the Commission on Elections for the 2016 polls is P543,638,440 per candidate for presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Ad-spending-Presidentiables-CNNPH.png  

Among the presidential bets, Vice President Jejomar Binay is the biggest ad spender, with P344.8 million.

Sen. Grace Poe is a close second with P 331.4 million, Manuel "Mar" Roxas III is third with over P150 million, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is fourth with around P110 million.

Sen. Miriam Santiago incurred zero campaign expenses since all her ads that ran in that period were paid for by the People's Reform Party.

Ad-spending-Vice-Presidentiables-CNNPH.png  

For the vice presidential candidates, Francis "Chiz" Escudero was the biggest ad spender, with P236 million.

He is followed by Cong. Leni Robredo who spent P225 million. Third is Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano with P172.3 million, while Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. comes in fourth with P42.8 million. Next is Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV with P38.9 million.

Sen. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan spent the least for campaign ads, with P120,600.

In the senatorial race, the three biggest ad spenders are Martin Romualdez, Ralph Recto and Joel Villanueva.

Past the limit

According to PCIJ executive director Malou Mangahas, these figures do not include other campaign expenditures such as campaign rallies, sorties, paraphernalia, and staff compensation.

However, there are already two presidential — Binay and Poe — and three senatorial candidates who had passed half the official spending limit set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"So we're in danger of seeing possibly mga breach ng election spending limits," said Mangahas.

Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia said it is difficult to keep track of candidates' election spending.

"As you know reports will primarily come from the candidates themselves. If the contractors, would submit a faithful report, 'yun po talaga ang makakatulong sa amin," said Guia. [Translation: "If the contractors, would submit a faithful report, that would really help us."]

Related: Presidential, VP bets spend P6.7 billion on pre-election campaign ads - PCIJ

He said the Comelec is serious about enforcing campaign finance rules.

"Subukan nila. Ngayon mas energized ang campaign finance office" he said. [Translation: "They can try. The campaign finance office is more energized now."]

An election offense carries the penalty of one to six years' imprisonment, disqualification from public office, and deprivation of the right to suffrage.

The Comelec has filed election offense cases against more than 35 candidates for alleged overspending in the 2010 and 2013 polls.

In February 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the Comelec's decision to unseat Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito for campaign overspending.