Comelec reminds candidates of SOCE deadline tomorrow

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Candidates who ran in the local and national elections only have until Wednesday to report the amount of contributions they have received for their campaign and how much they have spent.

Only three senators and about a dozen party-list groups filed their Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) as of Tuesday afternoon. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will not extend the June 8 deadline.

Those who fail to submit their SOCEs may face hefty fines and heavier penalties.

“We had so many extensions in previous elections. This time we have to show the candidates that we are strict with the deadline and that they have to fulfill their obligations to file their SOCEs,” said Atty. Mazna Lutchavez-Vergara of the Comelec Campaign Office.

Section 11 of the Omnibus Election Code gives candidates up to 30 days after the elections to file their SOCEs, regardless of whether they won or lost. Candidates who fail to submit their SOCEs by Wednesday will be slapped with an administrative fine ranging from P10,000 to P30,000 depending on the position they ran for.

The Comelec and the Department of Interior and Local Government have an agreement to disallow winning candidates who did not file their SOCES from occupying their positions, whether local or national.

Those who have repeatedly ignored this rule, face a greater penalty.

“Kung dalawang beses hindi nag-file si candidate kasama prior elections niya pwede siyang maging candidate for perpetual disqualification case to hold public office — either appointive or elective,” said Vergara.

[Translation: If the candidate hasn't filed his or her SOCE for the second time, he or she faces perpertual disqualification from holding public office — whether appointive or elective.]

Vergara said there are at least 14 such cases from previous elections.