COMELEC ASKS REP. GLORIA ARROYO, GOV. VILMA SANTOS TO VACATE POSTS

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday asked 422 winning officials in the
May 2013 polls to
temporarily leave their posts for their failure to file the appropriate Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE). At a televised press briefing on Thursday, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said under the Synchronized Elections Law, elected officials who did not comply with the SOCE requirements should stay out of office until they have submitted the necessary documents. The SOCE is a report of election candidates on their donors and expenditures during the campaign and poll period. All candidates and political parties are required to file with the Comelec full, true, and itemized SOCEs within 30 days after election day. (Photo from scoopboy.com)

ALSO:  GMA camp, Vilma Santos: We filed proper SOCEs

The camp of Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto denied that they did not submit proper Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) for the 2013 polls. In a phone-patch interview on ANC, lawyer Raul Lambino, Arroyo's spokesperson, said they were surprised by the announcement of the Comelec that the former president was among the 422 incumbent officials who did not comply with the SOCE requirements. In a separate phone-patch interview on ANC, Gov Vilma Santos said she filed her SOCE and received a certificate of compliance on June 6. "We did not get any letter kung meron pong naging problema. We did not get any letter from the Comelec. Kung nalaman namin na may problema, sana nagawan namin ng correction," Santos said. The Batangas governor said her lawyer is already taking care of the matter.

ALSO: House Speaker: Comelec 'overacting'

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was overacting when it ordered 20 incumbent lawmakers to vacate their posts for not complying with the proper filing of statements and reports on poll expenses and contributions. Belmonte said based on the Comelec's list, only three of the 20 lawmakers allegedly did not file their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) for the May 2013 elections. "Well, I think OA naman yung Comelec," Belmonte said in a press briefing, a transcript of which was sent to media outfits. "[C]onsidering most of them (SOCEs) [were] simply not sign[ed] by the guy himself but maybe by his accountant, means to say hindi naman lack of, 'di naman bad faith yun. Talagang misapprehension lang so ganon lang 'yun," Belmonte also said.


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Comelec asks GMA, Vilma Santos to vacate posts


EX-PRESIDENT GLORIA ARROYO IN 2006 PHOTO BY BRIAN P. BILLER, US NAVY

MANILA, DECEMBER 16, 2013 (PHILSTAR)  By Louis Bacani - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday asked 422 winning officials in the May 2013 polls to temporarily leave their posts for their failure to file the appropriate Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

At a televised press briefing on Thursday, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said under the Synchronized Elections Law, elected officials who did not comply with the SOCE requirements should stay out of office until they have submitted the necessary documents.

The SOCE is a report of election candidates on their donors and expenditures during the campaign and poll period.

All candidates and political parties are required to file with the Comelec full, true, and itemized SOCEs within 30 days after election day.

Brillantes said the incumbent officials who need to step down for now are those who did not file any SOCE at all, those who did not personally sign their reports, and those who did not submit the prescribed form.

"It (SOCE) was not signed personally by them (officials) or it was not in the proper form. So effectively, this was not the proper filing," Brillantes said.

The Comelec said the 422 officials include:

20 congressmen
4 governors
1 vice governor
12 provincial board members
3 city mayors
9 city vice mayors
47 city councilors
23 municipal mayors
26 municipal vice mayors
277 municipal councilors

Among those asked to leave their posts are former President and now Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, Laguna Governor ER Ejercito, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson and Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon.

(View the complete lists of local elective officials and members of the House of Representatives whose SOCEs were not submitted or were deemed not filed)

Brillantes said they have also requested the assistance of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and of the Department of Interior and Local Government in ordering the concerned officials to vacate their positions.

"They are supposed to notify these incumbent officials who have assumed erroneously and tell them to vacate their positions in the meantime that they are complying with the requirements," Brillantes said.

The poll body chief said there will be temporary vacancies in the Congressional posts while succession will apply in the executive positions.

But he clarified that the officials who did not comply with the SOCE requirements are not disqualified.

"They are considered not to have validly assumed the office," Brillantes said.

He added that the officials will also face administrative fines when they file the appropriate SOCEs since these are considered as late submissions.

"Ang message ng Commission sa mga nanalong kandidato: Huwag nilang kakalimutan 'yung kanilang obligasyon after the elections," Brillantes said.

GMA camp, Vilma Santos: We filed proper SOCEs By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated December 12, 2013 - 4:10pm

MANILA, Philippines - The camp of Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto denied that they did not submit proper Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) for the 2013 polls.

In a phone-patch interview on ANC, lawyer Raul Lambino, Arroyo's spokesperson, said they were surprised by the announcement of the Comelec that the former president was among the 422 incumbent officials who did not comply with the SOCE requirements.

Lambino said both he, as Arroyo's agent, and the congresswoman herself duly signed and submitted the campaign statements and reports.

"We have filed the SOCE together with all the attached annexes or the finance statements and reports as required by the Comelec in pursuant to the forms that are prescribed by the Commission," Lambino said.

The lawyer said they filed the necessary documents and received a certificate of compliance from the acting election supervisor of Pampanga on June 10.

What they did not only submit on that day, Lambino said, was the schedules of contributions received and unpaid obligations because Arroyo did not receive any election contribution at all.

In a separate phone-patch interview on ANC, Santos said she filed her SOCE and received a certificate of compliance on June 6.

"We did not get any letter kung meron pong naging problema. We did not get any letter from the Comelec. Kung nalaman namin na may problema, sana nagawan namin ng correction," Santos said.

The Batangas governor said her lawyer is already taking care of the matter.

"Kung meron pagkakamali sa form or sa signature, I don't think magiging problema naman," she said.

On Thursday morning, the Comelec said the 422 officials who failed to submit the appropriate SOCE should step down temporarily until they file the required documents.

House Speaker: Comelec 'overacting' By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated December 12, 2013 - 6:02pm

MANILA, Philippines - House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was overacting when it ordered 20 incumbent lawmakers to vacate their posts for not complying with the proper filing of statements and reports on poll expenses and contributions.

Belmonte said based on the Comelec's list, only three of the 20 lawmakers allegedly did not file their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) for the May 2013 elections.

"Well, I think OA naman yung Comelec," Belmonte said in a press briefing, a transcript of which was sent to media outfits.

"[C]onsidering most of them (SOCEs) [were] simply not sign[ed] by the guy himself but maybe by his accountant, means to say hindi naman lack of, 'di naman bad faith yun. Talagang misapprehension lang so ganon lang 'yun," Belmonte also said.

The House Speaker said they have since contacted two of the three lawmakers to tell them to submit the needed documents.

Belmonte said these two lawmakers claimed that they did actually filed their SOCEs.

"So kung totoo yung kanilang claim na 'yun, that means to say meron tayong problema doon sa record keeping ng Comelec," Belmonte said.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said at a televised press briefing on Thursday morning that they are only enforcing the law.

According to the list uploaded on the Comelec website, there were actually four lawmakers who did not submit their SOCEs: Manila Fourth District Rep. Thrisha Bonoan-David, Bulacan First District Rep. Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado, Camarines Sur Fifth Distric Rep. Sal Fortuno and Lanao del Sur Second District Rep. Pangalian Balindong.

The SOCEs of the remaining 17 legislators were deemed as not filed.

Three lawmakers did not use the prescribed form in filing their SOCEs while the other 14 did not personally sign the documents.

Among these House members were Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon and Ilocos Sur First District Rep. Rodolfo Biazon.

The Comelec said under the law, these legislators and more than 400 other local officials should leave their offices for now until they have completed their deficiencies.

Belmonte said he is a hundred percent sure that by Monday, all 20 House members have fully complied with the SOCE requirements.

"I'm confident that by Monday, wala nang basis, nakasunod na lahat. Pinatawagan ko nang lahat sa office ko," Belmonte said.

He said they only received this morning a communication from the Comelec that requests for his assistance in ordering the 20 lawmakers to temporarily vacate their posts.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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