Why some election candidates face disqualification

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 15 2014 04:35 AM | Updated as of Jul 15 2014 12:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Politicians may not run in the 2016 elections if they failed to submit their statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCEs) in the past two elections.

Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking into adopting new rules requiring outright disqualification of candidates who overspent or failed to file the SOCE during the past elections.

“We intend to strictly enforce rules, especially for the 2016 elections, so we are looking at possibly not accepting the certificates of candidacy of those with strike two, or those who have already committed violations twice, instantly,” he said.

The Comelec is set to discuss the feasibility of enforcing the strike 2 policy in their coming sessions, he added.

Brillantes said the Comelec Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) is working double time in checking who filed valid and truthful SOCEs in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

“We will be prepared to slap all kinds of penalties on them, be it administrative and criminal, fines or disqualifications,” he said.

“We want to show that we are serious here. We want to send a message to those who want to run in 2016.”

Under the existing Omnibus Election Code, campaign overspending is an election offense punishable with imprisonment of one to six years, disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.

Comelec Resolution 9476 also mandates the filing of administrative sanctions like fines ranging from P10,000 to P60,000 against those failing to file valid SOCEs.

Last December, the Comelec advised over 400 elected government officials, including 20 members of the House of Representatives, to temporarily vacate their posts for failing to file valid SOCEs.

However, the Comelec extended the deadline and gave all candidates in the 2013 midterm polls until June 30, 2014 to file or correct their SOCEs.