Comelec gives pols more time to file expense reports
MANILA, Philippines—Candidates and parties that took part in the 2013 midterm elections who failed to submit their campaign finance reports have until May 12 to comply with the requirement or face a penalty.
The poll agency said the deadline was “final and non-extendable.”
In a six-page resolution promulgated on Feb. 13, the Comelec en banc said it issued the directive “to encourage the disclosure by candidates and parties of their campaign contributions and expenditures during the 2013 elections and to enable the commission to initiate the filing of administrative cases for the violation of Section 1.4 of Republic Act No. 7166 and election offenses related to campaign finance.”
RA 7166 or the Synchronized Elections law requires all candidates and political parties to file with the poll body a full, true and itemized Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) within 30 days after election day. The law also states that winning candidates will not be allowed to assume office until they have submitted their SOCEs.
The Comelec said candidates have until 5 p.m. of May 12 to submit their SOCE or make corrections.
Late filers must pay fines ranging from P5,000 to P16,000.
Last December, the Comelec asked at least 422 elected officials to vacate their posts for failing to submit their expense reports.
Among these officials were former president now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Rep. Rodolfo Biazon and Governors Vilma Santos of Batangas and ER Ejercito of Laguna.
Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. has asked Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II to order the officials who won in the elections to step down.
With the resolution, essentially, the Comelec has given the elected officials more time to file their expense reports.—Niña P. Calleja