Senate bets with no expense reports face fines
MANILA, Philippines—Senatorial candidates who failed to beat the June 13 deadline for filing their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) face administrative fines, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Those who have not yet filed their SOCEs, as of press time, are Risa Hontiveros of the Team Pnoy and Rizalito David and Marwil Llasos of the Ang Kapatiran Party.
Records of the Comelec’s law department showed that Sen. Francis Escudero submitted his SOCE at around 9:30 a.m. Friday.
The deadline for the filing of SOCE was originally set at 5 p.m. of June 13 but the Comelec had extended it to 10 p.m. the following day due to bad weather.
“We could not leave the office, anyway, because of the rains. So we still accepted (statements) until 10 p.m. But those who have not yet filed are definitely late so I think there will be an administrative fine for them,” Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes told reporters.
Brillantes also clarified that Senator-elect Joseph “JV” Ejercito, whose SOCE has not yet been received by Comelec’s law department yesterday, was exempted from an administrative fine since he sent his SOCE by registered mail on Thursday.
The poll body considers the mailing date as the time of filing, he explained.
Brillantes said late filers face administrative fines ranging from P1,000 to P30,000, “depending on the discretion of the en banc.”
“This will be upon our discretion depending on the length of the delay and the reason for the delay, because they might have a legitimate reason for it,” Brillantes said.
Those who won will not be able to assume office without filing the document, he added.
“We are not supposed to remind them (to file). The law provides that they file it so they take the responsibility if they do not file,” he said.
According to Republic Act No. 7166, every candidate and treasurer of a political party shall be required to file an itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures within 30 days after Election Day.
He added that candidates must be truthful in their declarations in their SOCE or they may face perjury charges.
Late-filers have until June 30 to file their SOCE. Otherwise, the Comelec would be filing charges of election offense against them, Brillantes said.
But he clarified that the SOCE of candidates who were able to submit on time may still be invalidated by Comelec’s audit team if it fails to comply with Comelec’s guidelines.
“They have to follow the format set by Comelec for their SOCE forms… We still have to check whether they filed on the proper form or whether it was properly signed and duly authorized (by the candidates). If it was not signed by the candidates, that is considered not filing,” he said.
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