A billion pesos were thrown in the air--literally--by candidates who aspire the presidency. And by the way, this Jay, only documented those placed from November to January 2010.
And you got it right, the biggest spender happened to be Nacionalista party presidential candidate Manuel Villar.
Villar promised to rid us out of poverty and he did, almost literally, by spending close to a billion pesos and literally, yes, literally, throwing those billions in the air. Picture Villar throwing those billions in a fiesta, in a Pabitin, standing in the middle blindfolded, while holding a stick and bashing a palayok, with all those television executives smiling and laughing with all those cash around.
Yes, 500 million pesos would have fed close to 4 million families in a month. It would have created thousands of jobs for impoverished fathers. It would have constructed hundreds of farm-to-market roads. And it would have hired thousands of jobless new graduates.
Yet, Villar chose to make ABS-CBN and GMA 7 executives wealthier than ever. That shows you the kind of "anti-poverty" program Villar and all other presidentiables will make when one of them makes it to the presidency.
Worst, PCIJ said TV ad spending reached 2.1 billion pesos, equivalent to the annual budget of the National Anti-Poverty Commission or even more. That would have created hundreds of low-cost houses, jobs and literally thousands of small and medium sized enterprises.
Yet no. These candidates want those billions thrown in the air like Mickey Mouse bills.
That shows you, that in the end of all these boastings, of promises of getting us out of the poverty rut, of sheer bravura of ending corruption, these candidates show their real colors this early in the game. Just by this very act of placing ads, you already found candidates tolerating corruption, you already got their real thinking on how to get rid of poverty by spending money and making the rich wealthier than ever and abandoning the poor and you even got their real take on Philippine reality--making an extreme effort of communicating with those who are not poor and can even spend time watching television.