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Comelec to fine 11 senators-elect who erred in filing expense reports


(Updated 8:39 a.m., June 21) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will slap fines on 11 of the 12 senators-elect who failed to comply with the requirements regarding the filing of their statements of contributions and expenditures (SOCE).
 
The poll body en banc on Thursday approved the memorandum of commissioner Christian Robert Lim that specified the violations of each senatorial bet in the 2013 elections, and the subsequent penalties.
 
Lim is the poll body's campaign finance unit head.

Strict implementation
 
Among the 12 senators-elect, only Alan Peter Cayetano has no deficiency in his expenditure report.
 
Poll chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. urged the candidates to submit their deficiencies before June 30, the start of the term for the new senators.
 
"We will be very strict in its implementation. Kailangang i-comply nila on or before June 29," he said.
 
According to Lim's memorandum, the penalties shall amount to "P1,000 per day (not exceeding June 29, 2013) until they have corrected the deficiency in their submissions."
 
Brillantes said they would implement their memorandum of agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which prohibits local officials from assuming office without submitting their expense reports. 

Up to Senate or House to bar non-compliants
 
The Comelec will submit a list of the candidates and their expenditures to the Offices of the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and DILG Secretary. However, Brillantes admitted that the Comelec has no power to compel the Senate or the House to bar non-compliant officials from taking their posts.
 
"Hindi namin sasabihin (na huwag paupuin). Sasabihin lang namin na the law provides (the requirement). It's really up to them whether to implement it," he said. 
 
He added that a P1,000 per day late penalty is 'very reasonable.' 
 
"If they don’t file it before June 30, then the fine is P30,000," Brillantes said.

Audit

Brillantes also said the poll body will conduct an audit after the June 30 deadline.
 
“Up to June 30 is compliance with the requirement of submission. After the submission we now go to the audit. Ang audit means tinitingnan namin kung totoo ba 'yung ni-report nila o hindi,” Brillantes said.
 
The poll chief warned that false information in the SOCE may result to perjury.
 
“Babagsak talagang perjury 'yun kapag hindi totoo,” he said.
 
Republic Act 7166 provides that failure to submit SOCEs is penalized with an administrative fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 for the first offense, and from P2,000 to P60,000 for second offense, depending on the position, according to Comelec Resolution No. 9476.
 
Brillantes said those who fail to submit SOCEs in two elections will be disqualified from running for public office. VC/YA/KG, GMA News