TO ensure that local and foreign companies will not be contributing to the campaign kitty of candidates, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sealed an agreement on mutual assistance and information sharing Monday.
The Memorandum of Agreement signed yesterday also covers SEC-registered firms that signified their intention to register as political parties or as party-list organizations.
Under the MOA, the Comelec will provide the SEC information on corporations and other SEC-registered entities that engaged in partisan political activities. The poll body will also report to the SEC the names of corporations that filed petitions to register as political parties or as party-list organizations with the intent to participate in the 2016 polls.
The SEC meanwhile, will provide the Comelec information on registered corporations that have been granted secondary licenses or permits such as financial institutions.
Batas Pambansa 881 or The Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines and the Corporation Code of the Philippines prohibit corporations from giving donations to any political party or candidate.
But Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbos agreed that a shareholder or officers and members of the board of a corporation registered with the SEC are not covered by the prohibition.
“As far as corporation is concerned, maybe we can look at their financial statement. If we see there’s such a thing there that would indicate that a large amount have been given somewhere and if it is proven given to a certain candidate that’s when factual violation may have occurred,” the SEC chief said.
Comelec Senior Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said what is being looked into is the capacity of a person giving the contribution whether or not a corporation is using one as dummy.
“What we do is we also shared this information with the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue). So if your income statement shows your earnings is only this much and you make a contribution of say P100 million then there is something wrong,” Lim explained.
He said big corporations, specially listed ones, are required to make a disclosure if they extend a substantial amount.
Prohibited under Section 95 from making any contributions are public or private financial institutions; operators of public utility or those in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation; contractors or sub-contractors that supply the government with goods or services or perform construction or other works, and grantees of government-granted franchises, incentives, exemptions, allocations, or similar privileges or concessions.