Gov. Vi: I always follow the law

by Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN Southern Tagalog

Posted at Dec 13 2013 02:00 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2013 10:00 AM

BATANGAS - Batangas Governor Vilma Santos Recto on Thursday said she was able to file her statement of election contribution and expenditures (SOCE) even before the deadline given by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Recto's reaction came about a few hours after Commissioner Sixto Brillantes’ press conference yesterday at the Comelec Intramuros office, ordering more than 400 elected officials to vacate their post after failing to file their SOCE to the poll body.

“We followed the laws, rules and regulation of the Comelec. Actually, we have a certificate of compliance dated June 6 from Batangas Comelec office,” Recto said.

Recto said even the Batangas Comelec office was surprised on the findings.

“We did not get any letter from the Comelec. Kung nalaman namin na may problema, sana nagawan namin ng correction," she added.

She said she asked her lawyers to check why she was included in the Comelec order.

“Eighteen years na ako sa politics at ni minsan wala akong naging kasong ganyan,” Recto said

Recto said her lawyers are taking care of the matter.

“Kung meron pagkakamali sa form or sa signature, I don't think magiging problema naman," she said.

Three Batangas representatives are also in the Comelec list.

Aside from Recto, Batangas 1st District Rep. Eileen Ermita-Buhain, 3rd District Rep. Nelson Collantes, and 4th District Rep. Llandro “Dong” Mendoza were also ordered by the Comelec to vacate their positions.

Mendoza said the issue is just a minor glitch. “Nagkulang lang ng signature, pero okay na. Nagsubmit na kami ng requirements sa Comelec Batangas.”

Collantes, meanwhile, in a text message said, "We complied with everything as far as we are concerned. My lawyers are now looking into it.”

Ermita-Buhain said she submitted her SOCE on June 30. “I think we have the same case as Congressman Mendoza na kulang ang signature. But we’re already submitting what ever amendment needed."

Batangas Comelec Provincial Supervisor Gloria Petallo said Recto used the prescribed form that was secured from their office.

“Upon verification sa central office, they found out na gumamit ng prescribed form si Gov. Vi pero hindi siya ang nag-sign. Her representative signed for her,” Petallo said.

Petallo said she still has to check the Comelec ruling about letting someone else to sign through a special power of attorney.

Recto, Buhain, Collantes, and Mendoza are among more than 400 officials being asked to vacate their posts for failing to submit a SOCE, failing to sign a submitted SOCE, submitted a signed SOCE that was not in the proper form.

Under the poll body's agreement with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the elected officials are not allowed to assume office until they have fully complied with the SOCE requirements.