Only one Senate bet fails to report poll expenses?

Paterno Esmaquel II
(UPDATED) Only Risa Hontiveros of Team PNoy has not issued any statement on her failure to submit her campaign spending report as of Friday, June 14

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – It was a rainy day, prompting the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to open its offices until 8 pm on Thursday, June 13, to accommodate bets who will report their campaign expenses.

Thursday, 5 pm, was the original deadline for their Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

Despite the leeway given by the Comelec, however, only 29 candidates bothered to submit their SECEs on Thursday. By 9:30 am on Friday, June 14, another candidate – Francis “Chiz” Escudero – submitted his SECE, but he was late. 

The Comelec Law Department said defeated bets Risa Hontiveros, Rizalito David, and Marwil Llasos have not filed their SOCEs. Hontiveros ran under the administration coalition Team PNoy, while David and Llasos ran under Ang Kapatiran.

In a document given to reporters at noon on Friday, the Comelec Law Department included Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito in the list of “senatorial candidates who have not submitted” their SOCEs. The document was signed by Law Department head Esmeralda Ladra.

Then at around 4 pm on Friday, Ejercito’s staff clarified to the Law Department that Ejercito sent his SECE through registered mail on Thursday. Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr said the date of sending via mail is considered the date of filing.

Around midnight, Llasos tweeted: “I filed my SOCE via registered mail. Under the law, the day of mailing is the day of filing.”

In another tweet, Llasos said he thinks his party mate, David, did the same.

This means 3 Senate winners – not 6 as earlier reported – failed to meet the Comelec’s deadline at 5 pm on Thursday.

Only Hontiveros of Team PNoy has not issued any statement on her failure to submit her campaign spending report.

In an interview, Brillantes said the poll body will fine those who don’t meet the deadline. Those who don’t file at all, the Comelec also said, can’t assume office.

Key disclosure

The Comelec has disclosed an initial list of SOCE submissions, and is expected to publicize the final list soon.

The SOCE is meant to disclose how much contributions a candidate got, and how much he or she spent, and if the amounts comply with campaign spending cap prescribed in the election law, which election players say is outdated.

Republic Act 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law, allows presidential and vice presidential candidates to spend up to P10 per voter. It allows their political parties to spend P5 per voter.

The law allows other candidates to spend P3 per voter. In addition to this, the political party in the candidate’s constituency may spend up to P5 per voter. Independent bets may spend P5 per voter.

The SOCE also shows who contributed to a candidate’s campaign, which the Bureau of Internal Revenue initially planned to use as guide on which contributors should be checked for inconsistencies in tax declarations. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.