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AMLC to help Comelec review campaign expenses

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will tap the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to help scrutinize the campaign finances of candidates in the 2013 polls.

Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the AMLC would be included in a committee that would review the Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE) of the candidates.

“We need more eyes to look into campaign finance. The Comelec cannot perform this task alone because we have so many things to do and we lack the expertise (in accounting and auditing),” Sarmiento said.

This will be the first time that the AMLC would be involved in the review of campaign finances. The council was formed in 2011 to prevent the country from becoming a money-laundering site of any unlawful activity.

Other members of the committee are the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Commission on Audit (COA).

 The National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) may be tasked by the Comelec to help in monitoring compliance with the campaign finance rules.

As the Comelec’s citizen’s arm in previous polls, Namfrel was engaged in the quick count of election results.

But while the group’s application for accreditation for 2013 has yet to be approved, it may be tasked to monitor the SOCE.

Sarmiento said they want to make sure that Namfrel and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) would not have duplicate functions.

The PPCRV, as a citizen’s arm, has been involved in voters’ education and deployment of watchers in polling precincts.

The Comelec official said the AMLC could help them determine the sources of candidates’ war chests.

“It is very important to monitor campaign finance because we would know where they got the money or who are the big donors. Is it narco-politics, drug money or jueteng money?” Sarmiento said.

The Comelec is expecting stronger compliance with the SOCE in the coming elections as it ordered candidates to submit the document by including it in the certificates of candidacy they filed last October.

The agency has an agreement with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that winning candidates would not be allowed to assume office unless they have filed the SOCE.

Sarmiento said the Comelec also wants to know if a winning candidate would eventually give favors to his/her donors in terms of government contracts, among others. 

 

 

ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL AS THE COMELEC BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE COMELEC DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT FREE ELECTIONS NAMFREL NAMFREL AND THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL NATIONAL CITIZEN RENE SARMIENTO SARMIENTO
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