Manila, Philippines – The order for the more than 400 elected officials to vacate their posts due to their failure to file a valid Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) is just the first stage, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said this is because they have yet to determine if the said officials submitted a correct SOCE.
“First stage palang ito. Ang dinedetermine lang namin dito sino yung nag submit at sino yung hindi nag submit. Hindi pa namin dine-determine kung tama ba yung sinubmit or hindi,” he said in an interview.
“Itong mga ito hindi pa namin tinitingnan kasi considered wala pa naisa-submit e,” added Brillantes.
On Thursday, the poll body, through the Department of Interior and Local Government and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, ordered 422 elected officials including 20 congressmen to vacate their respective offices for failure to file their SOCEs.
The COMELEC said SOCEs not personally signed or those not complying with the required form are considered not filed. Among the prominent personalities ordered to vacate their post are former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto.
According to Brillantes they’ve already started auditing the SOCEs of other elected officials who have submitted valid SOCE last October.
“Nag a-audit na kami sa mga nag submit dito na ayos. Inumpisahan na namin. Audi ting means tinitingnan namin kung tama ba yung contribution, yung supporting documents,” he said.
“Nire-review pa namin yung mga mali. Merong mga hindi tama e under oath yan so pwede mo faylan (file) ng mga perjury,” added Brillantes.
The poll chief, meantime, revealed that Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr. actually submitted his SOCE.
Brillantes said they didn’t see his SOCE before at their main office that’s why he was included in the list. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)