By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections has asked the public to help them check any campaign financing violations in the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures that candidates in the May 2019 midterm polls have submitted.
“SOCE is a public document. It’s really for public consumption. So, anybody can go to the Comelec office to obtain copy of SOCE. That is the purpose of the document. So if you see any violation from candidates, inform us right away,” Atty. Efraim Bag-Id, Acting Campaign Finance Director of Comelec, said.
He explained that there are contributions and donations that are not allowed by law.
“It’s in the Omnibus Election Code…it is not allowed for civil service employees to give donations and contributions. It’s the same with our uniformed personnel such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines…foreign companies, foreign individuals are also not allowed to give donations or contributions to politicians,” said Bag-id.
“There are a lot of names of contributors and donors in the SOCE which we may not know personally, but if somebody will give us the information that these people are not allowed to give contributions…then, the CFO will file a case against them,” he added.
Under the law, all candidates and electoral parties, both winning and losing, are required to submit their SOCE within 30 days after the elections which is June 13.
The Comelec said SOCE filed beyond the deadline shall not be accepted except from those who won the elections, provided that the winning candidate shall submit SOCE within six months from the date of proclamation without prejudice to payment to administrative penalty for late filing.
Failure to file SOCE, the Comelec said, may result in the imposition of administrative sanctions against candidates and electoral parties.
As of Friday, all the winning senators in the recent midterm polls have already submitted their SOCEs to the poll body except for former senator Lito Lapid.
The 11 senators-elect are Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Bong Revilla, Francis Tolentino, Pia Cayetano, Bong Go, Bato Dela Rosa, Imee Marcos, Koko Pimentel, and Sonny Angara.