Comelec 7: No extension for Soce

(Logo from Comelec)
(Logo from Comelec)

THERE will be no extension of deadlines for the filing of Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (Soce) for candidates who participated in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) held on Oct. 30, 2023.

Lionel Marco Castillano, director of the Commission on Elections in Central Visayas (Comelec 7), said Monday, Nov. 6, that submitting a Soce is a prerequisite for assuming office after the elections. Other required documents include the oath of office and a certificate of proclamation.

“You cannot assume office unless you have filed a Soce. They cannot take office if they have not yet submitted a Soce to us. It is among the requirements,” he said.

He said the law mandates all candidates, whether they won or lost, to submit their Soce within 30 days after the election day, or until Nov. 29.

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

He said Soce should include all the expenses incurred during the campaign period, which ran from Oct. 19 to Oct. 28. It should also cover honorariums for poll watchers and staff.

Castillano said they would verify whether candidates adhered to the mandated maximum spending limit of P5 per registered voter.

The director said during election campaigns, candidates affiliated with political parties have a spending limit of P3 per voter, while independent candidates have a limit of P5 per voter.

In the BSKE, however, all candidates were considered independent candidates under Section 38 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, which states that the barangay election is non-partisan and should be conducted efficiently and inexpensively. No candidate can be represented as a member of any political party, political group, or organized group.

Castillano warned that failure to file the required statements or reports regarding electoral contributions and expenditures will result in penalties, and individuals may be barred from holding public positions.

According to RA 7166, failure to comply shall constitute an administrative offense, for which the offenders shall be liable to pay an administrative fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 at the discretion of the election body.

Castillano also said that for a second offense, the administrative fine would range from P2,000 to P60,000, and the offender would be subject to perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The director said even those who have withdrawn from the election must submit their Soce.

In Central Visayas, there have been only a few cases of withdrawal in candidacy, with around 30 BSKE candidates withdrawing in barangays in Negros Oriental, he said.

In a text message sent to SunStar Cebu on Monday, Ivan Jason delos Santos, the administration officer of Comelec 7, said they have not yet received any Soce from the BSKE candidates. However, some have visited the office seeking guidance on the filing process.

A total of 102,284 candidates participated in the recent elections in Central Visayas, with 58,771 running for the village polls and 43,553 in the youth polls.

In Cebu, 2,650 candidates ran for the barangay captain position, 22,013 for seats in the barangay council, 2,657 for the SK chairman position, and 16,454 for seats in the SK council.


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