BREAKING NEWS!

Why Bother with the SOCE?

What: SOCE stands for Statement of Contributions and Expenditures. All candidates are required to file this document.

Where: With the Comelec office where they filed their Certificates of Candidacy (COC).

When: Within thirty (30) days from the date of the elections.

Why: Because it is required by Section 14 of Republic Act 7166 or the law that provides for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, promulgated November 26, 1991 and so that candidates will not be held liable for overspending (Section 68, Omnibus Election Code) for activities made during the campaign period.

How: Submit said detailed document with the local Comelec office where the COC was filed following the efficient use of paper rule and submission of soft copy (Section 2, Comelec Resolution 10505, February 29, 2019). The Comelec may develop any online, web-based or electronic filing system for use in the May 9,
2022 National and Local Elections.

Should the candidates fail to file their SOCE within the given period, they could be subjected to administrative fines (except candidates for elective barangay office). For those who won the elections, they will not be allowed to enter upon the responsibilities and duties of their office until they shall have complied with this rule.

For the first offense, the amount of the fine to be imposed will be within the range of one thousand (P1,000.00) to thirty thousand (P30,000.00) pesos depending on the discretion of the Comelec. For the commission of a second or subsequent offense, the fine shall range from two thousand (P2,000.00) to sixty thousand (P60,000.00) pesos, in the discretion of the Comelec.

One sad news for candidates who repeatedly fail to file their SOCE, is that, they could be barred from running for any elective office in the future (Section 14, RA 7166, Section 13, Comelec Resolution No. 10505)

A neglect and even failure to file a SOCE has irreversible consequences, so this requirement must not be taken for granted. Candidates cannot be excused, for not filing their SOCE, just because they lost in the elections, they know nothing about it, they withdrew from the electoral race even before the start of the campaign period, or they have not spent anything during the campaign period. The law does not make any distinction as to what kind of candidate should or should not file a SOCE, it requires all candidates to file this most hated document.

A more detailed discussion concerning this topic, including specific cases, will be made at our Election Day, Balitaktakan segment at 9:00 o’clock in the morning on July 9, 2021 at Regional News Group Luzon.

**All comments mentioned in this article are made in my personal capacity as a lawyer and are
not made as an employee of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

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