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Late filers of election expenses pay fines

After many national candidates failed to meet the deadline for their campaign financial reports, the Commission on Elections said on Friday it will impose administrative penalties on those who failed to beat the June 13 deadline. Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said only half of the 12 senatorial bets who won in the May 13 polls were able to submit their statement of elections contribution and expenditures (SECE) on time. Brillantes said the Comelec will allow others to file their financial reports before the opening of the 16th Congress on June 30, but the poll body will impose an administrative penalty. “We will determine who did not file so we can start imposing the administrative fine and, for those who won the elections, check whether they will be able to assume [office],” he said. “(For late filers), you will be able to assume [office so long as] as you file it before June 30, but there will be an administrative penalty,” Brillantes said, adding that the fine may range from P1,000 to P30,000. At press time, only senator-elect Joseph Victor Ejercito, losing candidates Risa Hontiveros, Marwil Llasos and Rizalito David did not file their financial reports on June 13 as required by the Omnibus Election Code. “We’re not supposed to remind them,” Brillantes said. “The law provides to file it yesterday so they take the responsibility if they don’t file it.” Senator-elect Francis Escudero submitted his report Friday morning while four other senators-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Gregorio Honasan, and Eduardo Angara, and three losing candidates Eddie Villanueva, Teddy Casino and Miguel Zubiri filed Thursday evening on June 13. On Thursday, the Comelec Law Department released copies of the SOCEs of only 8 candidates. Based on the initial documents released to the media, Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile, who ran under the United Nationalist Alliance, reported the highest financial contribution and expenses in the May 13 mid-term polls. Enrile received P150,797,910.18 and spent P150,401,072.09 during the 90-day campaign period for national candidates. Next to Enrile was Binay, another UNA candidate, who received P136,869,398,78 and spent P128,695.057.10 followed by Aquino of Team Pnoy with P125,493 million and spent P124,327,987.81. Poe, also of Team Pnoy, followed Aquino with P123,605,341.27 campaign contributions and expenses of P123,448,994.86. Also based on the initial financial reports, Samson Alcantara of Social Justice Society got the lowest contribution with P344,459 and spent the same amount. The Comelec promulgated on January Resolution 9476 aimed to regulate campaign spending and disclosure. It also created the commission’s Campaign Finance Unit which is tasked to monitor, compile and analyze the expenditures of candidates. Candidates are required to file their statement of contributions and expenses within 30 days after the elections, whether they win or lose. Another Comelec resolution stated that failure to file statement of expenditures and contributions will prevent a person from assuming office, if he is elected. It added that failure to submit the document will constitute an administrative offense which is punishable by a fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 at the discretion of the Comelec. Senatorial, congressional and other local candidates registered under a political party are only authorized to spend P3 for every voter. Independent candidates without any support from any political party are only authorized to spend P5 for every registered voter. Political parties and party-list groups may only spend P5 for every voter in the constituency. The statement of contributions and expenses serves as basis for Comelec to determine whether the candidates or parties exceeded the spending limit.
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