Manila, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants to make the failure to file the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SoCEs) an election offense.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said doing so will hopefully make those who will run in future elections to comply with the filing of SoCEs.
“Ang proposal ko, ibalik ng Congress na gawin ulit election offense yung non-filing of SoCE para maipakulong namin lahat ang hindi nag-file at para lahat sumunod,” Brillantes said.
“Ibalik nila sa dati na election offense yung hindi mag-file para mag-comply lahat dahil matatakot na dahil papakulong namin sila lahat. Sa ngayon, hindi namin maipakulong e,” Brillantes added.
Based on the Omnibus Elections Code, failure to file SOCEs is tantamount to an election offense that carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification from holding public office aside from being unable to assume their posts.
But this was repealed by Republic Act (RA) 7166 that provides that failure to file SoCEs can result only to unable to assume their positions, administrative fines ranging from P1,000 to P30,000, and perpetual disqualification to hold public office.
The Comelec on Thursday ordered 422 elected officials, including 20 congressmen, to vacate their posts due to their failure to file SOCEs. Included in the list were former President now Pampanga Rep.
Gloria M. Arroyo, Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo G. Biazon, Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Luis Singson, his brother, Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald; Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr., Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito, and Batangas Gov. Rosa Vilma Santos-Recto. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)