Months after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito for overspending in the 2013 campaign period, the poll body has found his cousin, Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, to have also overspent in the 2010 elections when he was still campaigning as congressman in San Juan City (Metro Manila).
A complaint filed by the Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) of the Comelec, said the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) of Ejercito filed in June 2010 revealed that the senator spent more than what was allowed by election laws.
“Respondent exceeded the expenditure limit of P271,083 for a candidate for the position of Representative of San Juan City Lone District by P167,429,” the complaint filed at the Comelec Law Department claimed.
“Hence, respondent should be held liable for violation of Section 100 in relation to Section 262 of the Omnibus Election Code,” it said.
Under Section 100 of the Omnibus Election Code, no candidate shall overspend for his election campaign.
Section 13 of Republic Act 7166 of 1991 states that every candidate can spend P3 for every voter currently registered in the constituency, where he filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC).
In 2010, San Juan City had a total of 90,361 registered voters.
According to Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., Ejercito is not being singled out by the poll body despite the possible filing of a criminal case against him.
“This is all part of the mandate of the Comelec to strictly implement the campaign finance rules. We are not singling out anyone. We are not concerned with the personalities involved here,” Brillantes said.
Recently, the Comelec finance unit filed separate election offense cases against Ejercito and 24 other local candidates at the Comelec Law Department for supposedly overspending during the two previous elections.
An election offense carries the penalty of imprisonment of one to six years, disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
Meanwhile, the Comelec Law Department has issued a subpoena against Ejercito, directing him to appear before the poll body and submit his counter-affidavit during the case hearing set on November 4.
It has also subpoenaed Panga-sinan Board Member Ranjit Ramos Shahani to appear and submit his counter-affidavit and other supporting documents after a complaint was filed against him for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
Based on the subpoena obtained, Shahani is directed to appear on November 7 at 2 p.m. at the Law Department.
Ejecito also on Tuesday expressed confidence that he would be able to prove his innocence over the allegations that he overspent during his congressional campaign.
According to him, he has not yet received any document or notice from the Comelec informing him about the supposed charges against him, noting the he only got the information from the media.