The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc voted 4-3 to allow candidates to file their statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) until June 30, an extension to their June 8 deadline, for practical effects.
The decision came on Thursday, which also meant that the poll body accepts the SOCE of the Liberal Party, which filed late on June 14, and other late filers.
Based on the tweets of BusinessWorld reporter Vince Nonato, those who were in favor of the June 30 extension were Commissioners Rowena Guanzon, Arthur Lim, Sheriff Abas, and Al Parreño.
Those who voted against it were Christian Robert Lim, Luie Tito Guia, and Chairman Andres Bautista.
According to Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, it is not only Liberal Party that will benefit from the extension of the deadline.
Jimenez also said that many government officials won’t be able to assume office if they did not extend the deadline, defeating the purpose of the May 9 elections, which cost taxpayers billions.
In a press briefing, Jimenez said, “Are we going to defeat the sovereign will of the people so that we can actually impose what is essentially a documentary requirement?”
He added, “The fallout of strict implementation in this case will not just affect one party.”
Jimenez noted that Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Aksyon Demokratiko also failed to submit their SOCE on June 8.
Had en banc not voted in favor of the extension, it would have affected Vice President-elect Leni Robredo, five senators, 115 congressmen, and 40 governors, not all of whom belong to LP.
One prominent non-LP winning candidate who would benefit from this decision is Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada of (PMP).
Since Comelec has extended the deadline of the SOCE submission, this means late filers will not be required to pay fines.
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