Lawyer: No specific SOCE prescribed under law

Posted at Dec 13 2013 11:09 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2013 07:09 PM

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MANILA - Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Friday said there is no law that requires election candidates to complete a specific form for their statements of contributions and expenditures (SOCE).

Macalintal said this puts doubt in the legality of the Comelec's order to some elected officials to step down from office.

He also questioned Comelec's process of releasing the list in public first before sending notice to the officials regarding the matter.

"Para sa akin ang dapat sana hindi sa [Department of the Interior and Local Government] sumulat o kaya sa Kongreso kundi sa mga candidates dahil andun ang tinatawag nating due process," he said.

He added: "Hindi naman sinasabi kailangan may prescribed form. Ang gumawa lang ng form ay Comelec kaya kung sakali mang yan ay requirement ng Comelec at wala yan sa batas hindi naman yan magiging dahilan para magkaroon agad ng vacation of office. Ang sinasabi lang sa batas ay kailangang magkaron ng itemized list of expenditures and contributions received."

Macalintal also said the issue is not as simple as paying the fine as it may have repercussions on the elected officials' political career.

"Kaya dapat pagaralang mabuti ng mga elected official. Yun bang 2010 election tama ang kanilang SOCE? Kasi kung mali nung 2010 at aaminin nila ngayong 2013, dalawang pagkakamali na yan at ayun sa batas sa pagsusubmit ng SOCE it will mean a perpetual disqualification from holding public office," he said.

"Dapat pag-isipan ng mabuti: Kayo ba ay susunod ng prescribed form at aamin na kayo ay nagkamali at papayag kayong mag fine ng P1000 to P3000 fine o iopaglalaban niyo na yang kautusan na eto ay mali at walang due process?"

ANC HEADSTART, December 13, 2013