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Party-list groups with wealthy and prominent nominees spend most on election ads.

Former public works secretary Mark Villar and Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva belong to families running firms that need government franchises. They aired ads worth more than P1 billion in traditional media from Jan. 2021 to Jan. 2022.

After a slow start, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. topped ad spending among all candidates in December, signalling what could be the beginning of heavy spending to keep his double-digit lead in the polls.

Candidates’ ads on Facebook have so far remained small relative to their total ad spending. The popular social media platform’s ad monitoring tool does not include payments to influencers tapped to endorse candidates, however.