Comelec reminds bets to submit statements on election expenses

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday reminded all those who ran in the May 13 elections, whether winners or losers, to submit their Statements of Election Contribution and Expenses (Seces).

James Jimenez, Comelec spokesman, said all candidates are required to submit their statements of expenses 30 days after the elections, or until June 12, before the Comelec offices where they filed their certificates of candidacy.

“In case you have forgotten, all candidates in the 2013 elections must submit Statements of [Election] Contributions and Expenses within 30 days after the polls,” he said.

According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government, winning candidates can only take their oaths of office after they obtain their Comelec-issued certificate of compliance to the filing of the Sece.

“Local candidates who fail to submit statements of contributions and expenditures won’t be allowed to assume office,” Jimenez said.

“For senators and members of the House of Representatives, no similar limitation is imposed. However, the Comelec will coordinate with the leadership of each chamber [Senate and House of Representatives] to determine the best means of enforcing the Seces requirement,” he added.

Jimenez also said no extensions will be granted for the filing of Seces.

He added that the statement of contributions will serve as basis for the poll body to determine if a candidate or a party exceeded the spending limit.

Election laws state that the aggregate amount that a candidate or party may spend for an election campaign shall only be P3 for every voter currently registered in the constituency where the candidate is running, and another P5 from their political parties, while independent candidates may spend P5 for every registered voter. There are 52,014,648 registered voters for recently concluded May 13 elections.

Comelec Resolution 9476 provides that “contribution” includes a gift, donation, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value, or a contract, promise or agreement to contribute, whether legally enforceable, made for the purpose of influencing the result of the elections, but shall not include services rendered without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time in behalf of a candidate or party. It shall also include the use of facilities voluntarily donated by other persons, the money value of which can be assessed based on the rate prevailing in the area.

It added that “expenditure” includes the payment or delivery of money or anything of value, or a contract, promise or agreement to make expenditure, for the purpose of influencing the results of the election. It shall also include the use of facilities personally owned by the candidate, the money value of the use of which can be assessed based on the rates prevailing in the area.

Moreover, the Comelec also said every person giving a contribution to any candidate, treasurer of the party, or to the authorized representative of such candidate or party shall also file with the commission, through the Campaign Finance Unit, a report of contributions, in triplicate, within 30 days following the day of the election.

“The Report of Contributions shall be filed with the offices of the commission where the candidate whom the contributor has made his contribution to had filed his certificate of candidacy except for national positions, which should be filed with the Campaign Finance Unit. For contributions made to parties, the contributor shall file his Report of Contributions with the Campaign Finance Unit,” it said.

The Comelec added that failure to file statements or reports in connection with the electoral contributions and expenditures as required herein 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 commission.

Jovee Marie  dela Cruz