THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc is expected to come up today with a ruling on a request of defeated presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Mar Roxas2nd for a 14-day extension to file his Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE), a law-mandated requirement for all candidates who ran in the May 9 elections.
Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista on Monday said the letter-request of Roxas would be on top of the agenda of the commission during their Tuesday’s regular en banc meeting, adding that their final decision would also be carried out as well on other national candidates who failed to submit their SOCEs on time, and as well as for local bets.
“In fact, it is not only the LP [Liberal Party] who requested an extension, there are others as well, including local candidates,” Bautista said. “We will treat all candidates as equals.”
All candidates have one month to file their SOCEs after the elections.
Roxas and the LP, however, failed to meet the June 8 deadline even as the cut-off time was extended from the closing of office hours at 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
LP spokesman Barry Guitierrez explained that the reason for Roxas’ failure to submit his SOCE was the “voluminous number of receipts that have to be scanned and attached to the document, in compliance with the rules and the in the interest of complete transparency.”
Bautista, however, appeared unconvinced by Gutierrez’s explanation, saying “if one’s reason is because of the voluminous documents, why were the others were able to submit?”
Of the five presidential candidates, only Roxas failed to submit a SOCE. All six vicepresidential candidates, on the other hand, have complied.
Of the 50 senatorial candidates, only 26 were able to file their SOCE. Among them were Senators-elect Panfilo Lacson, Ralph Recto, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian, Vicente Tito Sotto 3rd, Leila de Lima, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Joel Villanueva.
For party-list groups, 60 have filed their SOCE out of a total of 115.
Bautista clarified though that the SOCE would still be subjected to scrutiny by the Comelec’s Campaign Finance Office (CFO), headed by Senior Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, to determine if the contributions and expenditures of candidates and political parties were in accordance with election laws.
Under the law, candidates for President and Vice President are only allowed to spent a maximum of P10 per registered voters or a maximum total of P543 million for the entire 54.3 million registered voters.
Aside from the P10, political parties are allowed to spend an additional P5 per registered voter for their respective candidates or another P271.5 million.
On campaign contributions, Batas Pambansa (BP) 881 or The Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines and the Corporation Code of the Philippines, prohibit corporations, both foreign and domestic, from giving donations to any political party candidate or for the purpose of any partisan political activity.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL