NOW that candidates in the May 2019 midterm elections have filed their Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (Soce) with the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the public is invited to help scrutinize them.
In an interview, Comelec campaign finance office (CFO) acting head Efraim Bag-id said they are hoping that the public will take advantage of the Soce being a public document by helping in its assessment.
"The SOCE is actually a public document. It is really for public consumption. So anybody can come to the Comelec-CFO to obtain a copy of the SOCE," said Bag-id.
"They can then look for possible violations of the candidates, such as prohibited contributions. Let us know and we will be filing the appropriate charges," he added.
Under the law, prohibited contributions are the following: those sourced from public or private financial institutions; natural and juridical persons operating a public utility or in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation; natural and juridical persons who hold contracts or subcontracts to supply the government with goods or services or to perform construction or other works; natural and juridical persons who have been granted franchises, incentives, exemptions, allocations, or similar privileges or concessions by the government.
Also prohibited from making contrbutions are natural and juridical persons who, within one year prior to the date of the elections, have been granted loans or other accommodations in excess of P100,000 by the government; educational institutions, which have received grants of public funds amounting to no less than P100,000; officials and employees in the civil service or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and foreigners and foreign corporations.
"You can see the names of the contributors or donors in the Soce. We may not be able to know them personally, but if somebody will give us the information that these people have legal impediments from giving contributions, then the CFO will file a case against them," said Bag-id.
To recall, the deadline for the filing of Soce for those who ran in the May 2019 elections was last Thursday, June 13, 2019.
As of Friday, all the winning senators have already submitted their Soce to the poll body, except for senator-elect Lito Lapid. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)