‘Winning bets who fail to file SOCE cannot hold office’
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - This early, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is reminding candidates of the need to file Statements of Contribution and Expenditures (SOCE) within a month after the May 2016 polls, or they will be prevented from holding office if they win.

Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the campaign finance rules, which include the SOCE requirement, would be strictly enforced in the upcoming elections.

“In 2013, Comelec had experimented on this. We became strict in implementing the campaign finance rules. Now, they know we will be strict and there is no reason for them to (delay filing),” he added.

He also said that the June 8, 2016 deadline is “final and non-extendible” and a violator, even if he or she wins, will not be allowed to assume the post.

Under Republic Act 7166 or the Synchronized Election law, “no person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures.”

In the 2013 polls, the Comelec had extended the deadline several times, with the last one set on June 30, 2014 or more than one year after the elections.

The Comelec Campaign Finance Unit has been reviewing SOCEs submitted by bets in 2013 and 2010 polls. Last month, it announced that almost 5,000 candidates in the 2013 elections are facing administrative fines from P2,000 to P3,000 for failing to file their SOCE. The fines could total P52.3 million when collected.

SOCE is the document where candidates declare their expenditures and the contributions received during the campaign. It is through this that the Comelec determines which candidate violated the campaign spending limits of P10 per voter for those running for president and vice president and P3 for other candidates.

Independent candidates are allowed to spend P5 per voter, while a political party is authorized to spend P5 for every voter in the constituencies where it is fielding official bets.

ACIRC CAMPAIGN CANDIDATES COMELEC COMELEC CAMPAIGN FINANCE UNIT COMMISSIONER CHRISTIAN ROBERT LIM ELECTIONS STATEMENT OF CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES STATEMENTS OF CONTRIBUTION AND EXPENDITURES SYNCHRONIZED ELECTION UNDER REPUBLIC ACT
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