Senatorial bet Greco Belgica decries disqualification case over poll expenses
MANILA, Philippines — Former Manila councilor and 2016 senatorial aspirant Greco Belgica decriedon Thursday, his inclusion in the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) list of candidates facing permanent disqualification from running for any public office for failing twice or thrice to report their campaign finances.
“I filed and signed my SOCE (statement of contributions and expenses) in 2007 and 2013 so I cannot be charged for not filing my SOCE. Someone must be manipulating the records. The question is who?,” Belgica said in a text message to Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Comelec earlier issued a list of 92 candidates “subject to perpetual disqualification due to 2nd and 3rd failure to file SOCE” or statement of contributions and expenditures after the 2007, 2010 and 2013 elections.
The list was posted by the Comelec’s campaign finance unit in the poll agency’s website (www.comelec.gov.ph).
The documents showed that Belgica failed to report his campaign expenses after he ran for councilor in Manila’s 6th district in 2007 and for senator in 2013.
Belgica is one of the leaders of the Reform Coalition Philippines (RCP), a political watchdog calling on the Comelec to restore the security features of the voting machines to be used in the May 2016 elections.
“The truth is that we have been battling with Comelec to restore all precinct count optical scan (PCOS) security features prescribed by law that they removed in the the 2010 and 2013 elections so our votes can be counted correctly in the 2016 elections…This is the biggest issue the nation is facing for the elections,” he said.
“They promised a dialogue in January but we’ve already been hearing their justifications on radio why they cannot restore all security features prescribed by law,” he added.
The poll body said disqualification cases against the 92 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,” the Comelec said.
Majority of the candidates on the list ran for city, municipal, provincial and congressional positions in previous elections.
In October, the Comelec also released the names of more than 780 candidates who failed to report their campaign finances.
In a previous interview, 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 their repeated failure to comply with the financial reporting requirement. SFM
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