MANILA—With its recent ruling extending the filing of Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should expect that the future elections would be marred with requests for extension from candidates and political parties.
Former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliants believed that the ruling will set a precedent in future elections in the country.
“Now, who is going to believe in the deadline that the Comelec will set in the next elections? Nobody. They will just think that they can just ask for an extension,” he said.
He noted that those who will request for an extension would cite the case of the Liberal Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, to justify their appeal.
“They will simply use the reasoning that the Comelec granted the request of the LP in 2016. Why not us?” he added.
On Thursday, the Comelec en banc, voted, 4-3, has moved the June 8 deadline to June 30.
The LP and Roxas asked for an additional 14 days to complete the filing of their SOCEs.
On the other hand, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez noted that it is not the first time that the poll body has extended the deadline for SOCE filing.
He said that they also extended the deadline in the 2013 polls, which was then under Brilliants, from the original deadline of June 12, 2013 to May 12, 2014, to June 30, 2014.
Although, Section 14 of Republic Act 7166 states that all candidates and political parties must file their respective SOCEs 30 days after the day of the election.
But, the former poll body chief explained that the difference in the extension is the presence of the penalties for late filing in the 2013 polls.
“In their decision now, they did not impose any penalties to late filers. It’s like they are forgiving the late filers altogether,” Brillantes added.
He said the Comelec should have allowed late filing with the imposition of the administrative fines.
Commissioners Arthur Lim, Al Parreño, Sheriff Abas, and Rowena Guanzon voted for the granting of extension while Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista and Commissioners Christian Robert Lim and Luie Guia voted to deny the request.