Comelec slaps fine on candidates

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday slapped administrative fines amounting to a total of P52.3 million against 4,667 candidates, including incumbent elected officials who ran in the 2013 national and local elections, for their failure to file their Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

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“The slapping of fines on these erring candidates shows the resolve of the Comelec to strictly enforce campaign finance laws, rules and regulations,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said.

Section 14 of Republic Act 7166 provides that all candidates and treasurers of political parties are required to file their SOCE.

“No person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures…” the law states.

Comelec Resolution 9939, promulgated on April 6, 2015, listed down the scale of administrative fines for candidates and parties who failed to file their SOCE.

According to the resolution, national parties and candidates for senatorial positions will be fined P30, 000 for first offense and P60, 000 for second offense.

On the other hand, candidates for seats in the House of Representatives, city mayors and city vice mayors shall be fined P20, 000 for first offense and P40, 000 for second offense, while municipal mayors, municipal vice mayors and municipal councilors shall be fined
P10, 000 for first offense and P20, 000 for second offense.

Earlier, the Comelec filed campaign overspending charges against 37 national and local officials who ran and won in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

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

Senior Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said there were 1,200 more pending cases before the Comelec law department.

“Expect more cases that will be filed,” Lim added.

He said the Comelec wanted to finish it before the May 2015 elections to comply with the five-year prescription period set by law.

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