Submit expense reports, Comelec reminds poll candidates

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday issued a reminder to the winners of the May 13 polls: File your Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SECE) as soon as possible or you won’t be allowed to assume office on June 30.

The Comelec said the deadline for the filing of the document is June 12.

“No extensions will be granted,” said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.

In an interview, Jimenez said losing candidates as well, both in the national and local races, were also required to submit SECEs as mandated by Republic Act No. 7166.

The Synchronized National and Local Elections Law stipulates that “no person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures required.”

Failure to submit the document constitutes an administrative offense punishable with a penalty ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 at the discretion of the Comelec.

“In case you’ve forgotten, all candidates in the 2013 elections must submit their SECE within 30 days after the balloting,” said Jimenez.

He also reminded local candidates about a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government that requires them to present a Comelec certification stating that they had complied with the reporting requirement before they would be administered the oath of office.

The agreement was signed in March last year.

Jimenez said the Comelec would also look into the authenticity of the contents of the SECEs.

According to the law, a candidate belonging to a political party may spend only P3 for every voter registered in their locality, while an independent candidate may spend P5 per voter. A political party may spend P5 for every voter registered in the constituency where it has official candidates.

Earlier, Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim had suggested that minor discrepancies found in the SECEs shouldn’t necessarily constitute an election offense.

But candidates found submitting untruthful statements would be liable for perjury, said Lim. “That’s a criminal case. We will endorse it to the Department of Justice if it is perjury since that is under their jurisdiction,” he said.—Jocelyn R. Uy

Originally posted: 6:10 pm | Monday, June 3rd, 2013

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