Comelec in search of Napoles fund recipients in SECEs

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) began browsing through the Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SECE) of candidates beginning with the recently-concluded May 2013 polls.

In an interview, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that they are already checking their records if Napoles, who is being accused of being behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, had contributed to any politician's campaign funds.

"We are just checking our records since it is all over the news now. She appears to be close to several politicians so we want to know if she contributed to anyone of them or not," said Brillantes.

He said they will also be checking the SECE records in the 2007 and 2010 polls of different candidates and political parties.

“Initially, so far, in the 2013, we have not seen (her name among the contributors) yet,” said Brillantes.

The move comes after showbiz talent manager Lolit Solis, a self-confessed friend of Napoles, disclosed that the latter had admitted helping in the campaigns of then presidential candidates Benigno Aquino III, Joseph Estrada, and Manuel Villar.

A look at the 2010 SECEs of President Aquino, Manila Mayor Estrada, and former senator Villar failed to show any contributor by the name of Janet Napoles.

The Comelec admitted that their interest falls only on whether the candidates, parties, or Napoles had filed the necessary documents on their campaign donations or not.

"We are not concerned on where politicians and their contributors source their funds. What is important to us is whether they reported the contributions to us or not," explained Brillantes.

He said that not including her contributions in the SECEs despite being proven as truthful could result to perjury cases since the statements are filed under oath.

This is because the Omnibus Election Code states that all candidates are required to file their SECEs to the Comelec within 30 days after Election Day containing “the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election”.

Also, Rule 3, Section 1 of Comelec Resolution 9476 provides that “every person giving a contribution to any candidate shall file with the Commission a Report of Contributions within 30 days following the day of the election”.

Failure to do so could result to filing of election offense cases, which could mean one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification from holding public office.

Still, Brillantes believes that their findings might prove helpful in case they are somehow involved in the ongoing investigation of the pork barrel scam by the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council.

To recall, Napoles is being tagged as the mastermind of the pork barrel scam, wherein several lawmakers are being accused of funneling their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to her fake non-government organizations to finance ghost projects. (HDT/Sunnex)
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