785 candidates face lifetime poll ban
MORE than 780 candidates who ran for local offices in the last three elections face permanent disqualification from running for any public office for failing to report their campaign finances, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The Comelec’s campaign finance unit has posted on its website (www.comelec.gov.ph) a list of 785 candidates in the past elections who did not report their campaign expenses after the 2007, 2010 and 2013 ballotings.
Majority of the candidates ran for city, municipal, provincial and congressional positions.
In an interview with reporters Monday, Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said those who filed certificates of candidacy for the 2016 elections but whose names appeared on the list may be disqualified due to repeated failure to comply with the financial reporting requirement.
“If they are on the list, they can be disqualified unless we get an order from the court [saying otherwise],” Bautista said.
Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Law, requires all candidates to file “full, true and itemized” statements of contributions and expenses for the election 30 days after Election Day.
First-time offenders are subject to an administrative fine of P1,000 to P30,000, depending on determination by the Comelec.
Second-time offenders and subsequent offenses are subject to an administrative fine of P2,000 to P60,000, depending on the position they ran for, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
ARMM tops list
The list showed that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) accounted for the highest number of candidates who failed to file campaign finance reports since the 2007 elections, with 194.
In Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), 88 candidates were found to have not submitted financial reports twice since the 2007 elections.
In the Cordillera Administrative Region, 70 did not file campaign finance reports.
In Northern Mindanao, 67 did not file reports; Central Luzon, 60; Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos), 59, and the National Capital Region, 54.
Asistio, Mathay, Misuari
Among the prominent politicians on the list are former Caloocan City Mayor Macario Asistio Jr., former Quezon City Rep. Ismael Mathay III and former ARMM Gov. Nur Misuari.
Two members of the Ampatuan clan are also on the list.
The document showed that Misuari failed to report his campaign expenses after he ran for governor of Sulu province in 2007 and 2010 and for regional governor in 2013.
Misuari is facing charges over an attack by his faction of the Moro National Liberation Front on Zamboanga City in 2013. He has gone into hiding.
It showed that Asistio failed to file financial reports twice—in 2010 when he ran for vice mayor and in 2013 when he ran for mayor—while Mathay did not file reports after the 2007 and 2010 elections.
The document also showed that Pandag Ampatuan failed to report his campaign expenses after he ran for the municipal council of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao province, in 2010 and for the provincial board in 2013.
Abdullah Ampatuan, who was killed in July 2013, did not file reports after the 2010 and 2013 elections.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said cases against the 785 candidates would be filed in the commission.
“These are still up for filing of petitions for perpetual disqualification in the Office of the Secretary of the Commission,” Jimenez said.
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