MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is considering the rejection of the Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) of candidates in the 2016 polls who are found to have overspent during the campaign period and those that failed to file valid Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) in the past two elections.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said they could possibly reject COCs of candidates that they find violating campaign finance rules and regulations.
“We intend to strictly enforce these rules, especially for the 2016 elections… we are looking at possibly not accepting the COCs of those with strike two, or those who have already committed violations twice,” he said.
Brillantes noted that the commission en banc will discuss the plan.
He added the Comelec Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) is strictly assessing if the SOCEs filed by candidates are valid and truthful.
“We will be prepared to slap all kinds of penalties to them, be it administrative and criminal, fines or disqualifications. We want to show that we are serious here. We want to send a message to those who want to run in 2016,” the poll body chief said.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, campaign overspending is an election offense, which is punishable with imprisonment of one to six years, disqualification to hold public office, and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
Comelec Resolution 9476 also provides that administrative sanctions will be slapped against those who will fail to file valid SOCEs, such as administrative fines ranging from P10,000 to P60,000 depending on the elective position he vied for and with those committing second offenses already subject to perpetual disqualification to hold public office.
Earlier, the Comelec gave all candidates of the 2013 midterm polls until June 30, 2014 to file or correct their SOCEs but it was extended to give the candidates more time to rectify their statements.