UNA hits Roxas, LP for failure to file SOCE

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) yesterday criticized the ruling Liberal Party for its failure to file on time the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) of the party and its defeated presidential bet Manuel Roxas II.

In a statement, UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not to accede to the LP request to give them a 14-day extension to file SOCE.

“The people now want to see a Comelec that truly enforces the rule of law. Turning soft on Mar Roxas and the Liberal Party, and treating them with kid gloves will only highlight suspicions that the Comelec is part of some conspiracy during the May 9 elections,” said Ilagan.

“We find LP’s request for a 14-day extension to complete their SOCEs a shameful, disgraceful and extreme display of arrogance and total lack of respect for the law,” he added.

Ilagan said the administration party’s disregard for the non-extendable period given by the Comelec only shows the “overbearing bigheadedness and sense of entitlement of Roxas,” whom he accused of “arrogance (that) continues to pervade as if he is still in power.”

Roxas and his party failed to file their SOCE on June 8, citing the voluminous records that they have to collate.

Winning LP vice presidential bet Leni Robredo was able to file her SOCE, although she might not be allowed to take office if the party fails to file its own documents before June 30.

According to UNA, Comelec Resolution No. 9991 affirms that late filing of SOCE amounts to a de facto non-filing of SOCE, which has the effect of forfeiture of elective posts aside from the hefty penalties that they have to pay.

It added that Republic Act 7166 or the Synchronized Local and National Elections and for Electoral Reforms does not authorize the Comelec to extend the deadline for filing of SOCE.

“Should the Comelec accommodate their request, we would consider it unfair for those law-abiding citizens who made it before the deadline,” said Ilagan.

He recalled a previous statement of Roxas during the second presidential debate in Cebu, where the former interior secretary invoked following Comelec rules over the issue of bringing notes.

Complaint against overspending 

A formal complaint is needed for faster determination of who among the candidates in the last May 9 elections may have overspent for their campaign.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said all SOCE submitted would be evaluated.

But Jimenez noted that if a formal compliant for overspending has been filed before the Comelec by an interested party, it would be treated separately.

“In that sense, the investigation will be pushed faster,” Jimenez said.

“Since those investigating will focus on the particular case, the allegations in the petitions will be the only ones looked into. In that sense, the case will roll faster,” Jimenez added.

He said all those who have violated the campaign and elections regulations will be held accountable.

The law allows candidates for president and vice president to spend P10 for every registered voter in the country and overseas; while candidates for other positions can spend P3 for every voter currently registered in the constituency where they are running.

Independent candidates can spend P5 for every voter currently registered in the area where they are running; while political parties and party-list groups are also allowed to spend P5 for every voter. - With Mayen Jaymalin

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