80% of candidates beat Soce submission deadline

Comelec Carcar City office
Comelec Carcar City office (Photo courtesy of Omar Sharif Mamalinta)

A TOTAL of 82,225 candidates who ran in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in Central Visayas last Oct. 30, 2023 have submitted their statements of contributions and expenditures (Soce).

The submission deadline was on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

According to the data provided by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Cebu spokesman Omar Sharif Mamalinta on Friday, Dec. 1, the number represents 80.19 percent of the 102,542 candidates in the region.

Bohol achieved the highest compliance rate at 83.58 percent, indicating that 29,464 of its 35,253 BSKE candidates submitted their Soce.

Cebu attained a compliance rate of 79.72 percent, with 34,921 out of 43,804 candidates successfully submitting their reports.

In Negros Oriental, 15,268 candidates passed their Soce, accounting for 79.15 percent out of 19,289 candidates.

In Siquijor, only 61.30 percent, or 2,572 out of 4,196 BSKE candidates, submitted their Soce.

Comelec 7 administrative officer Ivan Jason delos Santos said on Tuesday, Nov. 28, that there was no approved extension of the deadline for the filing of the Soce, which all candidates, whether winning, losing or withdrawn, must submit.

Commissioner George Erwin Garcia, during his visit to Cebu on Nov. 21, told SunStar Cebu that failure to submit the required electoral contribution and expenditure reports could lead to penalties.

Section 14 of Republic Act 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act, mandates that candidates and political party treasurers submit a comprehensive, accurate and detailed report of all contributions and campaign expenses within 30 days after election day.

After the BSKE last Oct. 30, candidates had until Nov. 29 to submit their transparency records.

The law also stipulates that violators may face fines ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 at the discretion of the election body.

During campaigns, candidates affiliated with political parties have spending limits of P3 per voter, while independent candidates are limited to P5 per voter.

However, in the BSKE, all candidates were treated as independents, following Section 38 of the Omnibus Election Code, which dictates a non-partisan and cost-effective barangay election.

Meanwhile, delos Santos said the pending disqualification of three winning candidates in Cebu has yet to be resolved.

Gian Vincent Sinda, who ran for and won as a councilor in Barangay Buanoy in Balamban, along with Maguikay Barangay Captain Eduardo Gumera in Mandaue City and Valladolid Barangay Captain John Apura in Carcar City have not been proclaimed due to their unresolved court cases.

Delos Santos said Comelec is waiting for the final verdict from the court, pointing out that the candidates are facing criminal charges.

He said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) should address this matter now that the election is over.

However, when SunStar Cebu sought answers from DILG 7 legal officer Michael Maxino Bandal during his guesting at a news forum last Nov. 21, he declined to comment.


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