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Comelec told to recall expulsion order vs 422 local execs.

Byline: Tetch Torres-Tupas

MANILA -- An election lawyer on Wednesday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to recall its previous order directing some local officials with alleged defective Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE) to vacate their posts. Romulo Macalintal said the basis of the Comelec in issuing the order is unenforceable.

"To implement this provision of the law, the Comelec issued Resolution No. 13-0823 on July 2, 2013 providing for the guidelines of the 'scale of penalties' for the amount of fine to be imposed upon non-compliant candidates. However, the said resolution has not yet been "published in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation" as required under Section 35 of RA 7166, hence, the same is not yet effective nor enforceable," Macalintal said.

After recalling the order, Macalintal said Comelec should first inform the concerned officials including all losing candidates of whatever deficiencies discovered in their respective SOCEs.

"After all, it is very clear in Comelec Resolution No. 13-0823 that the candidates should have been first advised of the alleged defects in their SOCE on or before June 29, 2013 but, as stated in the said resolution, 'due to the delay in the transmittal of the campaign documents from the field, not all local candidates were duly informed of their deficiencies within the 29 June 2013 deadline,'" Macalintal said.

Aside from that, Macalintal said Comelec should exclude the officials whose fault was submitting SOCEs that are not in the prescribed form.

"The law does not provide for a prescribed form of SOCE," Macalintal said adding that the only requirement under the law is an "itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election."

The Comelec earlier sought the help of the Department of the Interior and Local Government as well as the House Speaker in removing some 422 officials who failed to comply with the Comelec rules.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Dec 18, 2013
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