25 candidates face probe for overspending
MANILA, Philippines–Twenty-five candidates in the 2010 elections, including Sen. JV Ejercito, face possible election charges for alleged overspending for their campaigns, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes, citing information from the poll agency’s campaign finance unit and law department, said that apart from the 25, 44 other candidates were set to face preliminary investigation also over alleged overspending.
“This is all part of our actions to send a message that we are strict in implementing our election laws, including campaign overspending. You can expect more to come after this,” said Brillantes.
With their cases now up for preliminary investigation, the 25 candidates will be subpoenaed by the Comelec law department.
The Comelec said the candidates will be given the opportunity to submit counter-affidavits and other supporting documents to prove they did not exceed their spending limits.
Ejercito, who was then running for representative of the lone district of San Juan City, and the other respondents had 15 days upon receipt of the subpoena to file their counter-affidavits, it added.
After the preliminary investigation, the Comelec law department will be making a recommendation to the commission en banc whether or not to file criminal cases in courts.
The 24 other respondents are:
Congressional candidates Maria Blanca Lokin (2nd Dist., Pangasinan), Wilfredo Estorninos (2nd Dist., Samar), Orlando Fua and Grace Sumalpong (Siquijor), Carlos Diasnes (Batanes), Ralph Lantion (Nueva Vizcaya), Narzal Mallares (Antique) and Justinian Licnachan (Ifugao);
Gubernatorial candidates Herminia Ramiro (Misamis Occidental), Carlos Valdez Jr. (Sultan Kudarat), Manuel Montarde (Catanduanes) and Harry Meso (Dinagat Islands);
Mayoral candidates Jose Norella Jr. (Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro), Arsenio Agustin (Marcos, Ilocos Norte), Darell de la Flor (Belison, Antique), Ernesto Pablo Jr. (Rizal, Occidental Mindoro), Rudy Alvarez (Palanas, Masbate), Juditas Trinidad (Iguig, Cagayan), and Archimedes Sales (Pozorrubio, Pangasinan);
Vice mayoral candidates Ferdinand Trinidad (Iguig, Cagayan) and Cesar Tria (Magsaysay, Occidental Mindanao);
Board member candidate Ranjit Ramos Shahani (Pangasinan);
Sangguniang Panglungsod candidate Quirino Esguerra Jr. (2nd Dist., Zamboanga Sibugay); and
Sangguniang Bayan candidate Ephraim Gianan (Virac, Catanduanes).
The Comelec has yet to release the names of the 44 other politicians.
Section 100 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that no candidate shall overspend for his election campaign other than the amount set by the law.
An election offense carries the penalty of imprisonment of one to six years, disqualification from holding public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
Based on Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7166 of 1991, every candidate for president and vice president is allowed to spend P10, while other bets may spend P3 for every voter each registered in the constituency where he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC). Their political parties may also spend P5 for them.