MANILA -- Batangas Governor Vilma Santos’ lawyer assured her constituents she will “never, never” violate the law amid allegations against her by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In a statement, poll lawyer Romulo Macalintal insisted his client “did not commit any violation of election laws and rules and regulations promulgated by the Comelec in the filing of her Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE) in connection with the May 2013 elections where she was overwhelmingly elected as Governor of the Province of Batangas.”
Without admitting to any fault, Santos was one of the first to go to the Comelec to file a duly signed SOCE.
Macalintal said Santos merely did not personally sign her initial SOCE, which was not a violation of Comelec rules. He noted that the SOCE form distributed by the poll agency shows that an agent or treasurer of the candidate can sign in his or her behalf.
A portion of the SOCE form states: “If the filer of the report is an agent or party treasurer, please provide the following details- Complete Name of Candidate/party on whose behalf the report was filed; Elective Office.”
Macalintal said Santos authorized party treasurer, Francisco L. Lardizabal to file and sign her SOCE since the signature portion says: “Name and Signature of Person Filing This Statement” consistent with her honest belief and based on the said instructions in the SOCE form that her agent or party treasurer could file the said SOCE on her behalf.
“Furthermore, if there was something wrong in her SOCE, the same should not have been accepted or received by the Batangas Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) of the Comelec and her agent should have been advised accordingly. But instead of pointing out any alleged errors or omissions, the PES issued a Certificate of Compliance on June 6, 2013 stating the fact of Governor Santos’ filing of her SOCE,” he said.