Lim: Comelec's SOCE decision 'accommodation' for LP

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2016 09:06 PM

Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Comelec en banc's decision to extend the deadline for filing of Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) is simply an "accommodation in favor of the Liberal Party," Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said.

This is according to Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim in his dissenting opinion made public Thursday.

"The majority adopted the view of only one single party lamenting about 'voluminous and tedious to prepare' SOCEs, without regard for the fact that other candidates and parties with similarly voluminous records were able to comply on or before 08 June 2016," Lim said in his dissenting opinion made public Thursday.

He added that only the LP has filed a written request for extension. "Hence, the decision of the majority to extend the SOCE filing deadline is clearly an accommodation in favor of the Liberal Party."

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Lim on Monday quit his post as the chair of the Comelec's Campaign Finance Unit, following the decision of the en banc. Along with Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and Commissioner Luie Guia, Lim voted against the extension of the filing period requested by the Liberal Party.

This, after an earlier resolution said the June 8 deadline is final and non-extendible.

"The majority, by reneging on Resolution 9991 and allowing the filing of SOCEs beyond the 30-day period prescribed by law, had weakened the independence of this august body when they showed that they are willing to reverse their own positions to serve the parties and candidates who did not respect the rules and regulations of this Commission enough to comply with them in the first place," Lim wrote.

He added that the Comelec, as a regulatory body, is not duty-bound to fix or resolve the fault or omission of the LP "in accordance to the whims of the ruling party."

Lim also dismissed as "premature and speculative" the en banc's fear that a "possible constitutional crisis" and "widespread vacuum in the public service" could occur should the Comelec not allow the extension of the deadline.

"There is no way of knowing at this point in time whether winning LP-nominated candidates will actually be prevented from entering into the duties of their elective offices come the 30th of June 2016. And while Section 14 of RA 7166 clearly states that they are prohibited to do so because of their political party's failure to file its SOCE, which agency is actually responsible for enforcing this prohibition?" Lim wrote.