By ATTY. GREGORIO LARRAZABAL
What is the Statement of Contributions & Expenditures (SOCE)?
The Statement of Contributions and Expenditures, otherwise called “SOCE,” is the itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election, which every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall file with the offices of the Commission on Elections. This is a breakdown of the expenses a candidate and/or political party incurs during the campaign period, which also includes contributions made to the campaign of a political party and/or candidate.
When should the SOCE be filed?
Under the existing election laws, every candidateand treasurer of the political party are required to submit SOCE within 30 days after the election day. The statements for the May 13, 2019, National and Local Elections, can be filed on or before June 12, 2019.(This was moved to June 13 since 12 June is a holiday).
Where should candidates file their SOCE?
Campaign Finance Office (in Intramuros):
- Senatorial candidates
- National political parties
- Party-list groups
Office of the Regional Election Director, NCR (in Intramuros):
- Candidates for the House of Representatives in NCR
- Regional political parties with NCR as constituency
Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor:
- Candidates for House of Representatives for legislative districts in the province
- Provincial candidates
- Provincial political parties
Office of the City Election Office designated by the regional election director:
- Candidates for House of Representatives in legislative districts in cities outside the NCR composed of one or more legislative districts
- City candidates of cities with more than one election officer (like Quezon City, Cebu City, Makati City, etc.)
- Local political parties with constituencies in that particular city
Office of the City/Municipal Election Officer:
- City/municipal candidates
How many copies of the SOCE should be filed?
For those who will submit to the CFO in Intramuros:
Two (2) hard copies are required, with a soft-copy with submitted in USB or CD format, or emailed to Comelec.
For submissions to Comelec filed offices:
Three (3) hard copies are required, with a soft-copy also required to be submitted, either in USB, CD or emailed to Comelec.
What is the effect of candidate’s failure to submit SOCE?
The law is explicit that “No person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the SOCE…”
The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which nominated the winning candidate fails to file the statement required within the period prescribed by the act (RA 7166).
Likewise, “…failure to file the statements or reports in connection with electoral contributions and expenditures as required herein shall constitute an administrative offense for which the offenders shall be liable to pay an administrative fine ranging from One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) to thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00), at the discretion of the commission.
Under Comelec Resolution 10505, the office of an elected candidate who failed to file his 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.
The penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office may be (properly) imposed on a candidate for public office who repeatedly fails to submit his Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) pursuant to Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166.
Who are required to submit SOCE?
Section 14 of RA 7166 states that “every candidate” has the obligation to file his statement of contributions and expenditures.
Can a losing candidate or candidate who did not pursue his candidacy be exempted from filing SOCE?
The law does not make any distinction or qualification as to whether the candidate pursued his candidacy or withdrew the same. The term “every candidate” must be deemed to refer not only to a candidate who pursued his campaign, but also to one who withdrew his candidacy.
What is the maximum amount a candidate may spend?
Section 13 of RA 7166 states:
“Sec. 13. Authorized Expenses of Candidates and Political Parties. – The agreement amount that a candidate or registered political party may spend for election campaign shall be as follows:
- For candidates. – Ten pesos (P10) for president and vice president; and for other candidates, three pesos (P3) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, that a candidate without any political party and without support from any political party may be allowed to spend five pesos (P5) for every such voter.
- For political parties. -– Five pesos (P5) for every voter currently registered in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates.
What are considered as contributions expenditures?
Article XI, Section 94, of the Omnibus Election Code defines “contribution” as “a gift, donation, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value, or a contract, promise, or agreement to contribute, whether or not legally enforceable, made for the purpose of influencing the results of the elections.”
“Expenditure,” on the other hand, “includes the payment or delivery of money or anything of value, or a contract, promise, or agreement to make an expenditure, for the purpose of influencing the results of the election.”
For more information, I suggest reading the following Comelec Resolutions:
Comelec Resolution No. 9991.
Comelec Resolution No. 10488.
Comelec Resolution No. 10505.