COMELEC allows Liberal Party to disregard the campaign finance law
In a stunning move, Commission on Election (COMELEC) Commissioner Christian Lim resigned from his position as the head of the poll body’s Campaign Finance Office Friday night. When contacted by Rappler.com, Lim said that his decision is because of the COMELEC’s recent “policy shift” on the submissions of Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).
Section 14 of the Synchronized National and Local Elections Act of 1992 or Republic Act 7166 states that all candidates and their respective political parties shall submit an itemized SOCE thirty days after an election was held, regardless if they won or not. There are no ifs, buts, and possible exemptions mentioned.
For many election cycle now, there wasn’t really any fuzz about that requirement. That however changed last week when the ruling Liberal Party were not able to submit theirs last June 9, citing that they didn’t have enough time is not enough to go over their records and receipts.
Who are they kidding? National political parties typically have huge campaign organizations with designated campaign staffers that can handle matters such as this. Are they that busy? Or, are they merely negligent?
Nevertheless, the Commission on Election yesterday voted 4-3 to grant the administration party’s request for an extension of the deadline. In explaining their controversial decision, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, one of those that sided with LP, posted on her Twitter account that “procedural rules cannot prevail over sovereign will of the people” and that “the Supreme Court has ruled that many times” She also called on everyone to just “move on.” She reminds us of Daniel Padilla telling critics of Mar Roxas to just “shut up.”
The poll body’s decision to accommodate the LP leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Will they soon be lax in the limit set for candidates as regards campaign expenses? What about the requirement for them to submit drug test results? You see, why still have rules when you can bend them anyway?
Procedural rules cannot prevail over sovereign will of the people. Supreme Ct has ruled that many times.
— Rowena V. Guanzon (@commrguanzon) June 17, 2016