Joe III top spender in May 13 polls; 3 council bets declare ‘0 expense’

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

INCUMBENT Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III, who lost the May 13, 2019 elections to his brother-in-law and lone district Rep Jerry Treñas, spent the most among other candidates, based on their Statements of Contributions Expenditure (SOCE) submitted on June 13, 2019 with Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Comelec records showed that Espinosa spent P683,891 in the last elections, compared to Treñas who only spent P498, 437.

The third top spender was Councilor-elect Candice Magdalane Tupas (436, 077.23) followed by Congresswoman-elect Julienne Baronda (P313, 079), City Council bet Ras Borja (P276, 659) and mayoralty candidate Pacita Gonzales (P232, 338.40).

Meanwhile, three councilor bets – Roland Montelibano, Oscar Catarata, and Releo Lumayad – all declared zero campaign expenditures in their SOCEs.

Out of the 59 candidates in the recent midterm elections, 52 were able to file their SOCEs with Comelec on June 13.

Seven councilor bets – John Douglas Janducayan, Mark Khaizer Jadulos, Jose Allen Aquino, Eddie Marie Bañez, Rex Markus Sarabia and Wilfredo Garcia – failed to beat the deadline.

Both the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Comelec required all winners and losers to file their SOCEs to scrutinize their expenses and check if they violated election rules.

The SOCEs will then be submitted and assessed by the Campaign Finance Office to scrutinize in relation to overspending, forgery, and other possible election offenses.

The candidates who failed to file their SOCEs will be fined by the Comelec Campaign Finance Office.

Multiple or repeat offenders will be automatically disqualified from running for public office.

In previous interviews, City Elections Officer Atty. Mavil Sia warned candidates who declared zero expenditures in the SOCEs.

“They have to be careful with that. Nag-declare ka zero expenditures how come kay we do our monitoring during election and submit it also to the Campaign Finance Office in relation naman sa amon operation baklas. So for example, nag-declare ka zero expenditures ka pero may tarpaulin kakay nabaklas namon or nakaupod sa amon report nga may tarpaulin ka, so how come naka-upod sa imo report, zero expenditures ka. Pero that is up to the Campaign Finance Office to assess and impose sanctions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Espinosa emphasized that he only reported the truth in his SOCE.

Ako ya gareport lang ti ensakto. Akon ya I make it a point kon ano gin-usar naton, ginreport ta lang. Te sa iban da mapati ka nga amo na ka dako kay sa radyo pa lang bal-an naman naton na,” he said.