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Comelec to bets: Bare survey expenses

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday urged candidates to disclose all pre-election surveys they paid for to verify the financial declarations of pollsters.

Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the poll body hopes to verify the disclosures of survey companies on their subscribers through the reports from candidates.

“Not only is the fact of filing sufficient.  Now we want to check if the declarations are accurate,” Lim noted.

Lim said candidates should not hide their expenses for surveys since pollsters will report the information to the Comelec. The poll body has taken an interest in surveys as it noted that these do not come cheap.

Last Tuesday, the Comelec ordered the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Pulse Asia and other survey companies to disclose their subscribers to determine if candidates are spending beyond their campaign limits.

The order stemmed from the letter of the United Nationalist Alliance, asking the Comelec to require pollsters to identify who subscribed and commissioned pre-election surveys. UNA complained of the voter’s preference survey of SWS, which was topped by the senatorial bets of rival Team PNoy.

In Resolution 9674, the Comelec ruled that amounts spent by candidates and political parties for surveys, including subscriptions, form part of their campaign expenditures that must be reported to the poll body.

Candidates are also required to file their Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SECEs) with the Comelec within 90 days after election day.

Lim said that while candidates would not be liable for an election offense if they fabricate their SECEs, they could be liable for perjury.

 â€œIt’s a criminal case…we will endorse it to the DOJ (Department of Justice) because perjury is within the jurisdiction of DOJ, not ours,” he said.

CANDIDATES COMELEC COMELEC COMMISSIONER CHRISTIAN ROBERT LIM DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN RESOLUTION LAST TUESDAY PULSE ASIA SOCIAL WEATHER STATIONS STATEMENT OF ELECTION CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES UNITED NATIONALIST ALLIANCE
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