Comelec: SOCEs will be scrutinized for poll over-spenders

ILOILO City – The Campaign Finance Office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will run after May 13, 2019 midterm election candidates who failed to file or filed late their State of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

It will also check if the filers spent within the limit set by Comelec or if they overspent, according to Mavil Marajucon Sia, Bacolod City election officer who temporarily served as this city’s poll officer from March until June 14.

There are penalties.

The SOCE deadline was on June 13.

“The Campaign Finance Office will assess tanan nga candidates…kun kapila na nila mahimo nga wala SOCE,” said Sia.

In this city, seven candidates (not eight as previously reported) failed to file their SOCE. These were defeated candidates for councilor Jose Allen Aquino, Eddie Marie Bañez, Mark Khaizer Jadulos, John Douglas Janducayan, Rex Sarabia, and Wilfredo Garcia. The seventh was reelected Councilor Armand Parcon who died on May 23 just 10 days after winning.

Under the Omnibus Election Code all candidates – winners and losers – must submit their SOCE within 30 days after the election.

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.

But having a SOCE is more crucial for the 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.

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

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


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