Why Escudero, three losing bets face fines

Re-elected Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero and three losing candidates face fines for failing to declare how much they spent in their campaigns for the May 13 senatorial elections.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Escudero, as well as former Akbayan Party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros and Ang Kapatiran bets Rizalito David and Marwil Llasos failed to file their statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) on time.

The deadline for filing was set on June 13, Thursday. Escudero’s camp submitted the document to the poll body on Friday morning, while the three losing bets have yet to file their SOCE.

“Those who are still filing are definitely late and I think they will face administrative fines. We will determine the fine (as en banc),” Brillantes told reporters Friday.
Should Hontiveros, David, and Llasos file their SOCE on or before June 30, they will have to pay fines ranging from P1,000 to P30,000, the poll chief said, adding that the amount will depend on the length of and reason for the delay.

Beyond June 30, failure to submit the SOCE will be considered an election offense which has criminal liability under Comelec Resolution No. 9006.
“We can bring that to our law department for preliminary investigation. But we are still giving them time because they might have legitmate reasons,” Brillantes said.
“May this serve as a reminder because it might have just slipped of their minds,” he added.

The poll body has earlier said six winning senatorial bets failed to meet the deadline. These included Escudero, Juan Edgarda “Sonny” Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Loren Legarda and Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito-Estrada.
It clarified on Friday, however, that Senators-elect Angara, Cayetano, Honasan and Legarda have been able to file after the poll body extended the deadline to 10 p.m. amid Thursday’s heavy rains. Senator-elect Estrada, for his part, sent his SOCE through registered mail.

Brillantes nonetheless reminded candidates that submitting on time does not mean they have fully complied with the poll body’s requirement, noting that the documents have to be complete, down to the last signature.

Candidates may also face perjury and other charges should the Comelec en banc find that they misinterpreted any of the figures in their SOCE, the poll chief said.


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