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Comelec asks GMA, Vilma Santos to vacate posts

Louis Bacani - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday asked 422 winning officials in the May 2013 polls to temporarily leave their posts for their failure to file the appropriate Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

At a televised press briefing on Thursday, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said under the Synchronized Elections Law, elected officials who did not comply with the SOCE requirements should stay out of office until they have submitted the necessary documents.

The SOCE is a report of election candidates on their donors and expenditures during the campaign and poll period.

All candidates and political parties are required to file with the Comelec full, true, and itemized SOCEs within 30 days after election day.

Brillantes said the incumbent officials who need to step down for now are those who did not file any SOCE at all, those who did not personally sign their reports, and those who did not submit the prescribed form.

"It (SOCE) was not signed personally by them (officials) or it was not in the proper form. So effectively, this was not the proper filing," Brillantes said.

The Comelec said the 422 officials include:

  • 20 congressmen
  • 4 governors
  • 1 vice governor
  • 12 provincial board members
  • 3 city mayors
  • 9 city vice mayors
  • 47 city councilors
  • 23 municipal mayors
  • 26 municipal vice mayors
  • 277 municipal councilors

Among those asked to leave their posts are former President and now Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, Laguna Governor ER Ejercito, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson and Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon.

(View the complete lists of local elective officials and members of the House of Representatives whose SOCEs were not submitted or were deemed not filed)

Brillantes said they have also requested the assistance of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and of the Department of Interior and Local Government in ordering the concerned officials to vacate their positions.

"They are supposed to notify these incumbent officials who have assumed erroneously and tell them to vacate their positions in the meantime that they are complying with the requirements," Brillantes said.

The poll body chief said there will be temporary vacancies in the Congressional posts while succession will apply in the executive positions.

But he clarified that the officials who did not comply with the SOCE requirements are not disqualified.

"They are considered not to have validly assumed the office," Brillantes said.

He added that the officials will also face administrative fines when they file the appropriate SOCEs since these are considered as late submissions.

"Ang message ng Commission sa mga nanalong kandidato: Huwag nilang kakalimutan 'yung kanilang obligasyon after the elections," Brillantes said.

BATANGAS GOVERNOR VILMA SANTOS-RECTO BRILLANTES COMELEC COMELEC CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES GLORIA-MACAPAGAL ARROYO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE SPEAKER FELICIANO BELMONTE JR. AND OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ILOCOS SUR GOVERNOR RYAN LUIS SINGSON AND MUNTINLUPA REP LAGUNA GOVERNOR OFFICIALS
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