Comelec reminds bets anew to submit SOCE to avoid raps

Politics

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here on Wednesday reiterated an earlier advisory for candidates to submit their Statement of election Contribution and Expenditures (SOCE) to avoid facing charges.

“Nag-advise kami sa candidates na dapat sundin nila lahat ang rules of campaign finance, particularly submission of SOCE (We already advised candidates that they should follow all the rules of campaign finance, particularly the submission of the SOCE),” said provincial election officer Ricardo Lampac.

Even before the start of the campaign period, he said the candidates have already been reminded of the laws requiring the submission of the document.

He said the deadline for the submission is on June 8, 2022.

“We expect na mag-comply sila and then isa-submit namin sa Manila (we hope they will comply then we will submit them to Manila),” Lampac said.

Failure to submit before the deadline, a candidate can be meted charges or penalties.

“Katunayan noong naupo ako dito noong January, meron akong na-receive na eight na kaso from the Law Department to be filed at the RTC (regional trial court)-Bangued (Since I was assigned here in January I have already received four cases from the Law Department for filing to the RTC-Bangued),” he said.

The cases involved overspending committed during the 2013 election.

He said such cases take time before the Comelec Law Department finishes reviewing these. After which, the cases will require the approval of the Comelec en banc that will issue an authority for its field office to file the appropriate charges before a trial court.

Submission of the SOCE is a requirement prescribed by the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines to determine compliance with the expenditure limit of a candidate. The Election Law also prescribes an amount that candidates are allowed to spend during the campaign. The SOCE also requires the listing of contributions from donors.

Lampac said SOCE-related cases usually take longer than usual to get resolved because the Comelec’s Law Department is undermanned, something which he hopes to be addressed soon.

“Iyon siguro ang sistema na dapat ma-improve in the coming elections para madali at hindi naman ma-violate ang rights ng respondents during the investigation kasi kapag matagal ma imbestiga mawawala yung mga ebidensiya at made delay yung administration of justice (that is something which probably needs to be improved in the next elections so that the rights of the respondents will not be violated. If the investigation takes longer, the pieces of evidence will be lost and the administration of justice will be delayed),” Lampac said.

Before the May 9 elections, the Comelec issued a disqualification case against a candidate for mayor in Baguio City for failure to submit a SOCE in the past elections.

Lampac said that whether a candidate has lost or won, the submission of a SOCE is still required.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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