The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Sunday reminded newly elected local government officials that they will not be able to assume office unless they file their Statement of Contributions and Expenses on or before the June 13 deadline.
The SOCE includes cash and in-kind contributions received by the candidate from a political party and other sources. It also includes expenditures paid out of personal funds, out of cash contributions and incurred using in-kind contributions.
“We are reminding the winners to submit their SOCEs to the Commission on Elections [Comelec] this early because they may not be allowed to assume office until they have complied with this requirement,” said DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.
“Filing your SOCE is your first legal obligation to the nation and to the public. It is always good to start with a clean slate and to prove that you are worthy of the votes of your constituents,” he added.
Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166 or the “Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act” states that “Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within 30 days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election. No person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures required.”
Given that the elections were held last May 13, the deadline for filing of SOCEs is on June 13.
Malaya said that the DILG and the Comelec had earlier forged a memorandum of agreement which states that the DILG or any of its attached agencies shall require any winning candidate to present a Certification from the COMELEC that he or she has satisfactorily complied with his SOCE obligation.
“In the absence of the Comelec certification, a newly elected official shall not be allowed to perform his/her functions as public officials. His failure to file the SOCE on time would entail a delay in public service and would cause a leadership vacuum in their respective LGUs,” Malaya said.
The resolution further says that the office of an elected candidate who failed to file SOCE shall be considered vacant pursuant to Sec. 11 of the Omnibus Election Code until he has compiled and submitted his SOCE within the prescribed deadline, along with other Comelec requirements within the required period. After the deadline and the candidate fails to assume office, a permanent vacancy occurs for which the office shall be filled up in accordance with the Constitution or law.
“Sayang naman ang paghihirap ninyo sa kampanya kung dahil lang sa SOCE ay hindi kayo makakaupo sa posisyon. Kaya huwag na kayong magpatumpik-tumpik pa at i-submit ninyo na ang inyong SOCE sa Comelec,” Malaya said.
He said it is not only the winners who are required to submit their SOCE but also the losers and even those who were disqualified, as well as the political parties.
“The law says that for as long as you filed your certificate of candidacy for any position in the last elections, you are obliged to file your SOCE. Wala pong excuse dito,” he said.
For politicians committing second or subsequent failure to file his/her SOCE, the offender shall be subject to perpetual disqualification to hold public office.
In the same resolution, the Comelec also enumerated the administrative penalty for the elected candidate and electoral party who belatedly submitted the SOCE: P10,000 for senators, partylist organizations, and national political parties; P8,500 for provincial political parties; P8,000 for provincial governors and vice governors; P7,000 for provincial board members, congressmen, local political parties, mayors, and vice mayors; P6,000 for councilors.