Three out of 10 official presidential candidates failed to file their statement of contribution and expenditures (SOCE) last June 8, while a nuisance candidate complied with the requirement despite being unnecessary.
A press release from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on June 9 showed that Ernesto Abella, Norberto Gonzales, and Faisal Mangondato missed the SOCE filing deadline.
A certain Corina Joyce Castillo Felix, who filed her certificate of candidacy for president as an independent, was part of the list despite being tagged as a nuisance candidate. Director Efraim Bag-id of the Comelec Campaign Finance Office said Felix's name should not have been included.
— COMELEC (@COMELEC) October 7, 2021
For vice president, seven out of nine bets submitted their SOCE, with Manny Lopez and Rizalito David not complying with the deadline.
For senators, 44 out of 64 candidates, including members of the so-called Magic 12, filed their SOCE in time based on Comelec's press release.
The poll body, however, didn't include the name of senator-elect JV Ejercito, who according to Bag-id filed his SOCE by June 8.
All 55 winning party-list groups were also able to comply with the requirement, Comelec noted.
According to Section 107 of the Omnibus Election Code, candidates and their treasurers must submit their "full, true, and itemized" SOCE "within 30 days after the election," or until June 8 based on the poll body's calendar of activities. This deadline is final and non-extendible.
Failure to do so was previously considered an election offense under Section 262, and offenders shall be imprisoned for one to six years. They'd also be perpetually disqualified from holding public office and would lose their right to vote.
It, however, has been repealed via Republic Act No. 7166 and has since been decriminalized. While RA No. 7166 stilll requires filing of SOCE, Section 14 instead slaps those who'd fail to do so with a fine on first offense. A subsequent offense would incur a larger fine, as well as perpetual disqualification from public office.
Since 2016, winning candidates and party-list groups were also given more leeway, as they may file their SOCE within six months from proclamation, in accordance with Comelec's Resolution No. 9991 as amended by Resolution No. 10505.
“The office of an elected candidate who failed to file their SOCE shall be deemed vacant until they have complied and submitted their SOCE within a period of six months from proclamation," Comelec's James Jimenez said. "After the lapse of said period, a permanent vacancy occurs."