MANILA - The Commission on Elections has invited the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) on Tuesday to share with them its investigative report on the contributions to the campaign funds of candidates in the May 2016 elections.
"I think itong report ng PCIJ will be very helpful. Tingnan natin kung ano ang kanilang magiging findings and let's see what the Comelec en banc will be doing," said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista.
Bautista was referring to the PCIJ report on the SOCE of President Rodrigo Duterte and other candidates.
Based on Duterte's statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE), P375 million raised for his campaign came mainly from big businessmen, the PCIJ revealed Monday.
"Mahirap na kasi kapag ang Comelec mismo ang bubusisi ng mga SOCE ng mga kandidato, baka sabihin na tayo ay playing favorites," Bautista said.
Duterte's runningmate during the campaign was Alan Peter Cayetano who contributed tandem advertisements worth P71.3 million. He explained the money he gave to Duterte was pooled by donors.
However, Bautista could not give an answer to the question on whether a donee could become a donor.
"Hindi ko alam ang sagot dyan. Dapat pag-aralan natin siguro," he said.
He likewise said the Comelec cannot act on something that is simply based on hearsay.
"If there is a legitimate complaint that will be filed then we are duty bound to look into it," said Bautista. "Kung may agrabyado kailangan nilang lumabas at magbigay ng facts para suportahan yung kanilang complaint."
The poll body was also asked if it can use its motu propio powers to investigate the reported campaign donation of Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos to Duterte.
"Itong mga bagay na ito you have to use sparingly because kapag ginawa mo yan baka sabihin na magiging partial ka na at hindi na magiging independent," he said. "I don't want to be seen as being partial towards any particular candidates or towards any particular party."
Marcos has denied a statement made by Duterte in October wherein he said that the governor supported his presidential campaign and gave him money.