• 37 officials face raps for campaign overspending

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    THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is poised to file charges against 37 national and local officials who ran and won in the elections in 2010 for campaign overspending.

    Under the Omnibus Election Code, campaign overspending is punishable with one to six years of imprisonment with perpetual disqualification if convicted.

    “During the en banc hearing today, the en banc approved the filing of information against more than 35 individuals who overspent during the previous elections,” Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said on Tuesday.

    Lim said most of the violators were local officials but he did not identify them. He said there are 1,200 more cases pending at the Comelec law department.

    “Expect more cases to be filed,” Lim added, saying the Comelec wanted to finish filing these cases before the elections next year to comply with the five-year prescription period set by law.

    According to Lim, one of the worst offenders over¬-spent by 1,459.7 percent of the limit allowed by law.

    He stressed that Comelec is determined to pursue these cases.

    Lim called on candidates to comply with the law on campaign spending to avoid being hauled to court.

    “Being a candidate is not as simple as filing a COC (certificate of candidacy). There’s a lot of responsibilities and accountabilities attached to it. I hope the prospective candidates will realize their obligations before they file their COCs,” he said.

    Comelec spokesman Director James Jimenez said the complaints will be filed in regional trial courts where the subject official has been elected.

    Last, year the Comelec unseated Laguna Gov. Emelio Ramon “ER” Ejercito for election overspending during the 2013 midterm elections.

    His first cousin, Senator Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito, is also under investigation for the same offense.

    Under Comelec rules, those running for a seat in Congress or for any local position under a political party are only allowed to spend P3 for very voter registered in their locality.

    Independent candidates are authorized to spend P5 for very voter.

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