Comelec: Sans SOCE, winners can’t hold office

Iloilo City Congressman Jerry Treñas casts his vote around 9:40 a.m. on May 13 at L. Marisol Elementary School, Dungon B, Jaro, Iloilo City. IAN PAUL CORDERO


ILOILO City – All candidates and political parties in the recent May 13 midterm elections must submit Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) to the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Winners and losers are required to do this, stressed Comelec-Iloilo City assistant officer Jonathan Sayno.

But complying with this requirement is more crucial for election winners. Under Comelec Resolution No. 10505 promulgated on Feb. 28, 2019, no elected candidate may be allowed to hold office until he/she has filed his/her SOCE.

“The same prohibition shall apply if the electoral party which nominated the winning candidates failed to file SOCE,” further read the Comelec resolution.

As a policy, the SOCE must be filed within 30 days after the elections, as required by the Omnibus Election Code.

For the recent elections, the SOCE deadline is June 12. Except for elected candidate and party-list groups, the deadline is final and non-extendible.

But winning candidates have six months to comply.

Pursuant to Section 11 of the Omnibus Election Code, the office of an elected candidate who failed to file SOCE shall be considered vacant until he has complied and submitted his SOCE within six months from proclamation.

After this deadline lapses and the candidate fails to assume office, a permanent vacancy shall be declared.

There are penalties for violators, said Sayno.

First-time violators face an administrative fine of between P1,000 to P30,000 while second-time offenders, from P2,000 to P60,000.

Second-time violators would also be perpetually disqualified from holding public office, said Sayno.

“Candidates and political parties must itemize their expenses and contributions received during the campaign period,” he stressed.

Iloilo provincial election supervisor Atty. Roberto Salazar said candidates and political parties may download the SOCE form from the Comelec website <www.comelec.gov.ph> or secure one from local Comelec offices.

For late submission SOCE, the Comelec set the following administrative penalties:

* senators, party-list organizations and national political parties – P10,000

* provincial political parties – P8,500

* provincial governors and vice governors – P8,000

* Provincial Board, congressmen, local political parties, mayors, and vice mayors – P7,000

* city/municipal councillors – P6,000./PN


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