Comelec will be 'relaxed' on campaign expenses reports

(Updated 12:38 a.m., 21 February 2013) The Commission on Elections will not be strict in the implementation of rules on campaign expenditure reporting, poll chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Wednesday. “Maski hindi mag-report hindi mo naman agad mapapakulong yung mga yun. Usually very relaxed kami [in implementing that],” said Brillantes. “Dadating naman yung reporting, kailangan naman namin yan later,” he added. He said what is important to him now is the removal of illegal campaign posters. “Malinis naman ngayon, ang Plaza Miranda the next day [after the LP proclamation] malinis na,” said Brillantes. However, lawyer Luie Guia said the poll body’s relaxed attitude could be adopted by the political parties and candidates will not take the election laws seriously. “Surprising! Laws are clear as to when reports are to be submitted. Political parties and candidates must take disclosure requirements seriously. But how can we expect them to, if Comelec would be lax,” Guia said in a text message to GMA News Online. “If Comelec does not want to see the reports, perhaps the general public would,” he added. Section 88 of the Omnibus Election Code states that any political party or candidate shall notify the election registrar concerned of any public rally it intends to organize and hold in the city or municipality. The political party or candidate should, within seven working days after the event, submit to the election registrar a statement of expenses incurred in the rally. Section 14 of the Republic Act 7166 (An Act providing for synchronized national and local elections and for electoral reforms) states that every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within 30 days after the election day, file in duplicate with the offices of the Comelec the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election. It further stated that "no person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required." LP, UNA submit expenditure reports The Liberal Party submitted its “Statement of Expenses on Public Rally” before the Comelec's 3rd district office on February 19, exactly seven days after its proclamation rally in Plaza Miranda on February 12. LP shelled out a total of P1.89 million for the rally that started around 4 p.m. The administration party paid Creative Synergy, Inc. P945,560 for the rally’s staging and logistics and another P945,560 for production, based on the document secured by GMA News Online. The statement was submitted by LP Treasurer Alfonso Umali Jr. Lawyer, Eddie Aba, Cebu provincial election supervisor, said the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has also submitted its expenditure report for the rally held at Plaza Independencia in Cebu City, Cebu. He, however, cannot provide the details as the document is still with the election officer, lawyer Edwin Cadungog. Section 13 of RA 7166 provides that candidates may spend P3 for every voter currently registered in the area where he filed his certificate of candidacy while candidates without any political party and without support from any political party may be allowed to spend P5 for every voter. Political parties, on the other hand, may spend P5 for every voter in areas where it has official candidates. Some 52 million Filipinos are registered voters and can participate in the May 13 polls, according to Comelec records as of January 22, 2013. — DVM, GMA News

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