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IT WAS 1992; Fidel V. Ramos had just been voted as president, and Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada as vice president. Presidential bet Miriam Defensor Santiago was crying foul, saying she had been cheated.

BY ALL ACCOUNTS, the May 10, 2010 polls was the costliest ever in Philippine electoral history. The top candidates for president and vice president alone spent P4.3 billion on political ads during the official 90-day campaign period, and another billion 90 days before the campaign commenced, according to Nielsen Media’s monitoring of tens of thousands of political ad clips.

AS A veteran fund-raiser for presidential candidates tells it, there are fewer awkward moments in the campaign than a meeting between the candidate and a potential donor, especially if they are seeing each other for the first time.

A CLOSE look at election spending reports of seven presidential candidates and three political parties in the May 10 polls reveals that election campaigns are funded in the manner and mold of financing for risky business start-ups.

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