Poll bets told to file SOCE by June 13 or face consequences

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

ALL winners and losers in the May 13, 2019 elections are required to file their respective statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) by June 13, 2019, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Comelec-6 Regional Director Jose Nick Mendros emphasized that under election law, all candidates are required to submit their SOCE within 30 days after elections.

“For all the candidates, winners and losers, the deadline for filling of SOCE is on June 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 o’ clock at the office of the election officer where you filed your certificate of candidacy. Bets are required to declare all the expenses they have incurred in connection of their campaign and their candidacy on the recent elections. Nire-require yan under the law so that we will have an idea on how the candidate have complied all the rules,” he said.

Initially, the deadline was set on June 12 but since the latter falls on a holiday being Independence Day, the deadline was moved to June 13.

According to Mendros, winning candidates who fail to submit the SOCE on time would be prohibited from assuming their office.

“Under the law, for those winners who failed to submit their SOCE in the prescribed period, they are not deemed to formally assume the functions of their office so kahit tatlong beses ka pang nagtake oath, you are not deemed to officially assume your office,” he stressed.

Aside from losing their posts, they will also be stripped of the power to disburse and spend public funds, Mendros added.

“Any disbursement of your salary and any expenses from the public fund in connection with your function are deemed illegal or illegal disbursement,” he said.

On the other hand, losers who fail to submit their SOCE within the deadline will be subjected to administrative fine of not less than P5,000, according to Mendros.

Ngayon kung dalawang elections na hindi sila nag-file ng SOCE, that will be a ground for disqualification to hold office,” he said.

The SOCEs of the poll bets will then be submitted to the Comelec Campaign Finance Office in Intramuros, Manila for audit.

If the audit shows that a certain candidate overspent, Mendros said he will be subjected to an election offense known as overspending.

“We will file cases for overspending. Under Republic Act 9006, all candidates are only allowed to spend especially those with a political party P3 per candidate while independent candidates are allowed to spend for only P5 per voter within the area of their jurisdiction,” he said.

Candidates who submitted incomplete statements and reports in their SOCE will also face administrative sanctions.

Mendros emphasized that there is no reason for candidates to not submit their SOCE because they are already informed when they filed their certificate of candidacy.

Alam na rin ng mga kandidatong ito ang consequences if they failed to file SOCE so ang sinasabi naming sa kanila, there is no reason for you to file,” he said.