Amid a flurry of bold speeches and statements they make to curry favor with voters, one topic seems to make the top candidates for president turn timid and tentative — money matters.
In a series, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) interviewed eight of the nine presidential aspirants using a common set of questions on campaign finance issues, including where they get their campaign money, their major donors, and their expenses.
A few of the candidates were candid, some gave oblique answers, some waved specific questions away; one candidate teetered dangerously close to admitting, albeit unwittingly, that he would violate the law. Indeed, talking about money made many of them go around – and around – rendering them close to suffering verbal vertigo.
This report by PCIJ Multimedia Director Ed Lingao draws from the transcripts of interviews with the candidates conducted recently by PCIJ staff writers Tita Valderama, Karol Anne Ilagan, Justine Espina-Letargo and Jaemark Tordecilla.
The story is part of the PCIJ’s commitments to the Pera’t Pulitika (PAP) 2010 Consortium that is focusing on campaign finance issues and reforms. The PAP 2010 includes, apart from the PCIJ, the Consortium on Electoral Reforms (CER), the Association of Schools of Public Administration in the Philippines (ASPAP), and the Lawyers’ League for Liberty (Libertas).