DESPITE repeated warnings from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that failure to file the mandatory statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) is a serious election offense, only a handful of candidates have so far complied two days before the June 8 deadline.
Kristelle Balmes, Executive Assistant at the Office of the Comelec Chairman, disclosed on Monday that of the 167 national candidates, only 11 files their SOCEs – a senator and 10 party-list groups.
A total of 18,069 positions were up for grabs in the just concluded May 9 elections. Balmes explained that all candidates, whether they won or were defeated, are required by law to file their SOCEs.
Batas Pambansa 881 or The Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines and the Corporation Code of the Philippines both prohibit corporations, both foreign and domestic, from giving donations to any political party candidate or for the purpose of any partisan political activity.
Candidates for president and vice president are only allowed to spend a maximum of P10 per voter, P5 for independent candidates, P3 for candidates with political parties, and P5 for party-list groups.
“Overspending and acceptance of illegal donations are grounds for disqualification,” Balmes said, adding that the June 8 deadline will not be extended.
Non-submission of SOCEs also carries with it an administrative fine. Under Comelec Resolution No. 9939, national parties and candidates for senatorial positions will be fined P30,000 for the first offense and P60,000 for the second offense.
On the other hand, candidates for the House of Representatives, city mayors and city vice mayors shall be fined P20,000 for the first offense and P40,000 for the second offense, while municipal mayors, municipal vice mayors and municipal councilors shall be fined P10, 000 for the first offense and P20,000 for the second offense.
Winning candidates who overspent during the campaign period may also be removed from office even if they have assumed office.