Comelec warns candidates on filing campaign expense reports

Posted on October 21, 2013

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) has ordered the removal from office of winning candidates in the May 13, 2013 elections who failed to file their campaign expense reports before the poll body.

In a minute resolution, the Comelec, in full session, would issue an “order to remove from office those candidates who failed to file their SOCEs [Statement of Contributions and Expenses] for their midterm elections.”

The order would also cover candidates who submitted incomplete campaign finance statements as well as those who refused to correct deficiencies despite the issuance of notices by the poll body.

The resolution was based on the recommendation of Elections Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim, the head of the Comelec’s Campaign Finance Steering Committee.

To implement the order, the Comelec will furnish the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) a copy of the poll body’s report on campaign finance compliance of candidates with the SOCEs.

Under Comelec Resolution 9558, local candidates who fail to file SOCEs before the June 13 deadline face administrative fines ranging from P10,000 to P20,000 for the first offense, and P20,000 to P40,000 for the second offense.

Repeat offenders will be disqualified from running in the elections.

Local candidates who ran and won in the May 13 elections, but failed to submit their contributions and expense report was supposed to be barred from assuming office by June 30 based on a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the DILG to prevent non-filers to hold office.

The resolution was issued as the Comelec’s campaign finance committee has no way to check whether the MoA “was fully implemented”.

Under Republic Act 7166, winning candidates cannot assume office unless they have filed their campaign expense reports before the poll body.

The Comelec is also expected to publish in their Web site the compliance report of candidates with respect to the submission of SOCEs.

In Zamboanga City, the regional office of the Comelec has announced that the date of the special barangay election in this city has been set to Nov. 25, from the original date of Oct. 28.

Wilfred Jay E. Balisado, regional director of the Comelec office said on Saturday that the new date was reached after a meeting with representatives from different government agencies.

“At the end of the meeting we have come out with a resolution as to the conduct of the special election here on the last Monday of the month (of November),” he said.

The barangay elections, which is scheduled on Oct. 28 nationwide, was postponed here due to security concerns following the deadly attack on Sept. 9 by rogue Moro National Liberation Front fighters belonging to the faction led by Nur Misuari.

Mr. Balisado said that the resolution has full support from both the police and military. “The police and military are hopeful that by this week, the clearing operation in the areas affected by the crisis will be completed already,” he added.

He also confirmed that his office has already forwarded a copy of the resolution to the Comelec’s central office.

Comelec Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. said resetting the local barangay election to Nov. 25 is ideal to avoid any holdover of the elected officials as their term ends on Nov. 30. -- Mikhail Franz E. Flores and Albert F. Arcilla