Comelec unit rejects LP plea to extend SOCE filing

By Sheila Crisostomo
Comelec unit rejects LP plea to extend SOCE filing

The Campaign Finance Office (CFO) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday junked the request of the Liberal Party (LP) and its standard bearer Mar Roxas to extend the filing of their statements of contributions and expenditures (SOCE).

In a memorandum, Comelec commissioner and CFO head Christian Robert Lim said the request should be denied since an extension would be unfair to candidates and parties who complied within the prescribed period.

“After careful study on the said request, the Campaign Finance Office respectfully recommends the denial of the request for the extension of the time filed by Atty. Sardillo,” Lim said, referring to LP lawyer Bernadette Sardillo’s request for extension. “The June 8 deadline or the 30 day period reckoned from the day of the election is a hard deadline set by law in Sec. 14 of Republic Act 7166.”

The memorandum showed that except for Roxas, all other presidential as well as vice presidential bets were able to file their SOCEs on time and complied with the stringent new requirements set by the Omnibus Rules on Campaign Finance.

It also stated that “for national political parties with national candidates, almost all of them had likewise filed their SOCE on time notwithstanding the voluminous nature of their submissions.”

Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia said the recommendation would be discussed by the full commission in today’s meeting.

Guia refused to comment on the possible impact of CFO’s recommendation on LP candidates, particularly that on incoming vice president Leni Robredo.

Una wants sanctions

Meanwhile, opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has asked the Comelec to impose sanctions on the LP and Roxas over the late filing of their SOCE.

UNA secretary-general JV Bautista said he sent a letter to the Comelec on Monday to officially put on record that UNA is opposing the request of LP and Roxas to be given more time to file their SOCEs.

Bautista stressed that the outgoing administration’s party and Roxas “must be sanctioned for their deliberate failure to account for all contributions and expenses they incurred in connection with the May 2016 elections.” – With Janvic Mateo