NEWLY elected Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) officials will no longer be mandated to submit certification from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of filing of their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (Soce) to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) before assuming office.
Lawyer Michael Maxino Bandal, legal counsel of the DILG 7, said this decision is grounded in the recognition that BSK elections candidates are already obligated to file their Soce with the Comelec.
Citing an order from their central office, he deems the supplementary submission of the Comelec certification of Soce filing to the DILG as “potentially duplicative.”
“From our inquiry to (the) Comelec, the assumption of position should start at the moment the newly elected officials have taken their oath and been proclaimed,” he told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023.
The DILG formalized its order through Memorandum Circular (MC) 2023-165 dated Oct. 27, 2023, signed by DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., and addressed to all newly elected local officials, DILG regional directors and others concerned.
“Considering that candidates are already required to file the Soce with Comelec under Sec. 14 of Republic Act (RA) 7166, the additional requirement of the submission to DILG of Comelec certification of Soce filing may be deemed as duplicative,” reads a portion of the MC.
Section 14 of Republic Act 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act, provides that “every candidate should file a Soce with Comelec within 30 days after the day of the election, and before entering upon the duties of his office, if elected.”
Comelec still requires
Ivan Jason delos Santos, administration officer of Comelec 7, said on Tuesday, Nov. 21, that Comelec still requires all candidates, whether they win or lose and even those who have withdrawn from the elections to pass their Soce, to ensure that no candidate overspent during the campaign period, which is punishable as an election offense.
Furthermore, Joaquin Nicolo Fernandez, from Comelec 7, emphasized that the DILG order represents the agency’s prerogative to enforce its policy. He added that following the proclamation of winners, the DILG will now oversee the officials.
Fernandez added that they will continue to encourage those who ran in the Oct. 30 elections to submit their Soce before the deadline on Nov. 29.