By Leslie Ann Aquino
With the May 13 midterm polls now over, the Commission on Elections reminded all candidates to submit their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).
“We are reminding candidates, who ran or not, who won or lost, that they need to submit SOCE within 30 days from the end of elections or until June 12,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in an interview.
“Otherwise, what the law says is that they will be unable to assume their elective positions,” he added.
Based on Resolution No. 10505, the Comelec said, “No elected candidate shall enter upon the duties of office until he filed his SOCE.”
It added that the office of an elected candidate who failed to file SOCE shall be considered “vacant” pursuant to Section 11 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) until he has complied and submitted his SOCE within six months from proclamation.
Section 11 of the OEC states that “the office of any official elected who fails or refuses to take his oath of office within six months from his proclamation shall be considered vacant.”
After the lapse of the said period and the candidate failed to assume office, the Comelec said a “permanent vacancy” occurs for which said office shall be filled up in accordance with the law.
According to the poll body, all candidates and parties who participated in the May 13 National and Local Elections, regardless whether they won or lost, must file their SOCE not later than 30 days after the day of election or by June 12, 2019.
“Except for elected candidate and partylist group, the deadline shall be final and non-extendible,” read the resolution.
It added that submissions beyond this period shall not be accepted.
In the same resolution, the Comelec also enumerated the administrative penalty for the elected candidate and electoral party who belatedly submitted the SOCE: P10,000 for senators, partylist organizations, and national political parties; P8,500 for provincial political parties; P8,000 for provincial governors and vice governors; P7,000 for provincial board members, congressmen, local political parties, mayors, and vice mayors; P6,000 for councilors.
“Provided, that the SOCE shall be submitted within six months from the date of proclamation. Provided, further, that belated filing in two instances by an elected candidate or partylist group shall be considered to have failed to file SOCE twice. In such case, the violator shall be imposed with administrative fine…and shall be disqualified to hold public office,” the resolution read.