Winners or losers in the May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections still have a few more days or until June 13, 2018 to file their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), reminds the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“For purposes of transparency and accountability, all candidates, whether they won or not, should come clean and bare to the Comelec and the public their poll expenses and the contributions that they received for the elections,” says DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano.
Ano says that filing of SOCE is part of the legal obligation of any candidate who runs for public office under Republic Act 7166 or the "Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act".
“By filing their SOCEs, winners are starting with a clean slate while those who were not fortunate enough to win are given the opportunity to prove their worth and noble intentions in aspiring for an elective post,” he says.
According to the Comelec, even those who were disqualified to run are required to file their SOCEs.
Records show that a total of 1,070,991 certificates of candidacies were filed for the May 14 BSKE. Of this number, 684,785 were for Barangay positions, while 386,206 were for those seeking Sangguniang Kabataan positions.
According to the DILG Chief, the law provides that failure to file SOCEs would prohibit those elected from holding office until they comply with the requirement, or could result to perpetual disqualification to hold public office for subsequent offenders.
Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166 states that every candidate shall, within 30 days after the day of the election, file their full, true, and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.
For the commission of a second or subsequent failure to file his/her SOCE, the law states that the offender shall be subject to perpetual disqualification to hold public office.
Last April, the Comelec published on its website a list of 105 candidates who are now prohibited from holding public office due to repeated failures in filing their SOCE after elections.
The DILG Chief says it is better to avoid the rush and instead come forward to the Comelec before the deadline on June 13.
Prescribed SOCE forms are available in the Comelec website, www.comelec.gov.ph.