MANILA – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Wednesday clarified that it is not singling out President Rodrigo Duterte in its probe of his campaign finance records.
"We are validating all Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) submissions. We are not singling out the president," said COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez in a statement, following reports that Duterte did not declare some donors to his presidential campaign.
He added that they can only "possibly" investigate if a verified complaint is filed against Duterte.
In a speech earlier this month, Duterte said that Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos contributed to his campaign.
However, this was denied by Marcos, who is not listed in the SOCEs of Duterte and his political party, PDP-Laban.
Marcos said that the only contribution she gave the president's campaign was to solicit votes for him in Ilocos Norte.
"We cannot start a particular investigation based only on the president's statement [that Imee Marcos donated]. There should be an affidavit that the president actually said it," Jimenez said.
COMELEC's Omnibus Rules on Campaign Finance says that an incomplete SOCE is considered "not filed."
Presidential candidates and political parties who failed to file their SOCE can be fined P30,000. Non-disclosure of donors also violates the Omnibus Election Code, which requires candidates to issue receipts and keep detailed records for contributions.