Senators among recipients of illegal campaign donations—Brillantes
MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Tuesday said they would soon release a list of candidates, including incumbent senators, who received “illegal contributions” for last May 2013 elections.
“We’re going to release a new list, those who received illegal contributions (and) those who contributed but are not allowed to,” Brillantes said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM, adding that it reached the level of senators.
“Hanggang senador po ito [This is up until the senator level],” he said.
Brillantes said that public utilities and those with dealings with the government could not contribute to the campaigns of those running for office.
Comelec commissioner Christian Robert Lim told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that they were looking into the possibility of filing election offense cases against “prohibited donors” such as mining companies and government contractors.
“I won’t reveal the names for now. But we are studying the issue. We might lose the government if we remove them (from office),” Brillantes answered jokingly to questions on whether the officials would be disqualified or face a criminal offense.
“Let it be. Our senators and congressmen have a lot of problems right now…But we’ve started (investigating),” he said in jest.
He said they would first work on the disqualification cases of village candidates, in time for the turn over on November 30, before finalizing the complaints on illegal contributions.
Brillantes, however, assured that Lim, as the commissioner in charge of campaign financing, was very strict.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, “prohibited contributions” include donations from public and private financial institutions, public utilities, mining companies, government contractors, companies who have been granted government franchises and loans, educational institutions that receive public funds, employees of the Civil Service and the Armed Forces of the Philippines and foreigners or foreign corporations.
“It’s as if they forgot that they were not allowed to contribute…Our rule is that you cannot say that you do not know the rules,” Brillantes said, referring to the donors.