By Phoebe Salvador
Eagle News Service
(Eagle News) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded all who ran for seats in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls, whether winners or losers, to file their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) until today, Wednesday, June 13.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez noted that so far, there have been no talks to extend the deadline for the filing of SOCE, adding that all local offices nationwide were open yesterday despite being a regular holiday.
“Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election,” stated Section 14 of Republic Act 7166 which requires the filing of SOCEs.
“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 herein required,” it continued.
It also stated that the “same prohibition shall apply if the political party which nominated the winning candidate” should fail to file the statement required within the period prescribed by this Act.
Comelec said the legal basis for requiring candidates and parties to submit “full, true and itemized” statements of contributions and expenditures (SOCEs) in relation to their electoral campaigns is found in Section 107 of the Omnibus Election Code
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the filing of SOCE is part of the legal obligation of any candidate who runs for public office under Republic Act 7166 or the “Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act”.
“For purposes of transparency and accountability, all candidates, whether they won or not, should come clean and bare to the Comelec and the public their poll expenses and the contributions that they received for the elections,” said DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo Año.
“By filing their SOCEs, winners are starting with a clean slate while those who were not fortunate enough to win are given the opportunity to prove their worth and noble intentions in aspiring for an elective post,” he added.
Records show that a total of 1,070,991 certificates of candidacies were filed for the May 14 elections. Of this number, 684,785 were for barangay positions, while 386,206 were for those seeking Sangguniang Kabataan positions.
Año stated that the law provides that failure to file SOCE would prohibit those elected from holding office until they comply with the requirement, or could result to perpetual disqualification to hold public office for subsequent offenders.
In April, the Comelec published on its website a list of 105 candidates who are now prohibited from holding public office due to repeated failures in filing their SOCE after elections.
Prescribed SOCE forms are available in the Comelec website, www.comelec.gov.ph.