11 senators-elect face reporting fines

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday decided to fine 11 of the 12 winners of the 2013 Senate elections for “deficiencies” in the statements of contributions and expenditures (SOCEs) they submitted to the poll body.

Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes said the commission en banc decided to “adopt in toto” the recommendations of the Comelec campaign finance steering committee to fine the new senators or withhold their certificate of compliance.

Brillantes urged the new lawmakers to address the “deficiencies” by June 29 so they could assume office.

“We have adopted the recommendations of (steering committee chair) Commissioner (Christian Robert) Lim which means we will be very strict in implementation,” Brillantes said in an interview.

Under the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law, 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.”

Brillantes noted that Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s SOCE had no deficiency but his political party, the Nacionalista Party (NP), had yet to submit documents.

The Comelec campaign finance committee recommended that Cayetano not be issued a certificate of compliance until the NP submits the documents.

In his memo dated June 17, Lim recommended that all the newly elected senators, except for Cayetano, be fined for the deficiencies.

P1,000 per day

In his memo, Lim said Juan Edgardo Angara and Antonio Trillanes IV should be fined P1,000 a day until they submit the taxpayer identification numbers (TIN) of their contributors and copies of their donor receipts.

“Even if he complies, Mr. Angara cannot assume office until [his political party, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino] submits its SOCE,” Lim said.

He said Bam Aquino should be fined P4,000 because he resubmitted his personally signed SOCE on June 17 or four days after the deadline.

Lim said Nancy Binay did not submit copies of the receipts or invoices of the campaign expenses she listed and recommended a fine of P1,000 per day.

Lim also recommended that JV Ejercito and Chiz Escudero be fined P1,000 per day until they submit copies of the receipts they issued to their contributors.

Lim said reelected Senators Gregorio Honasan and Loren Legarda also did not attach copies of the receipts to their contributors and invoices for expenses incurred and should be fined P1,000 a day until they comply.

The SOCEs of Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar were deemed “not filed” because they were not personally signed. Lim also recommended that they be fined P1,000 a day for failing to submit their donor receipts.

Grace Poe, who topped the elections, resubmitted her personally signed SOCE on June 17 but she did not attach copies of the receipts and invoices of expenses incurred and contributions received. Lim said Poe should be fined P1,000 a day until she complies.

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