Head of COMELEC’s campaign finance office to tender resignation over recent SOCE ruling

  • COMELEC Commissioner Christian Lim will resign as the head of the Campaign Finance Office
  • He cites the unacceptable “policy shift” in the COMELEC regarding campaign finance rules
  • The COMELEC en banc allowed the extension of deadline for filing of the SOCE

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Christian Robert Lim is set to step down as the head of the commission’s campaign finance office (CFO).

Lim says his resignation is due to the decision of the COMELEC en banc to grant the petition of the Liberal Party (LP) to extend the deadline for the submission of statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) during the recently concluded national elections, in favor of its standard bearer, former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas.

“I will tender on Monday. Di acceptable ang policy shift [The policy shift is not acceptable],” Lim told the Inquirer.

In a separate text message sent when Rappler sought clarification, Lim specifically mentioned the decision regarding the SOCE.

“Because of the policy shift on SOCE submissions,” he wrote.

Lim, however, clarified that he is only resigning his chairmanship of the CFO, which oversees the receiving and evaluation of the SOCEs required from all candidates.

He will carry on with his term as part of the seven-member Commission.

Earlier, the en banc decided in a 4-3 ruling which extended the deadline for the submission of the SOCE on June 30.

As head of the CFO, Lim had recommended and voted together with Chairman Andres Bautista and Commissioner Luie Tito Guia against the extension.

“[I]n his capacity as commissioner-in-charge of the Campaign Finance Office, respectfully votes to deny the request of the Liberal Party and its presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II, as communicated by Atty. Sardillo…To grant the request for extension would not only be unfair to other candidates and parties who complied within the prescribed period but also would be a reversal of the Commission’s own resolution on the matter,” Lim wrote in a memorandum explaining his decision.

However, they were outnumbered by Commissioners Rowena Guanzon, Arthur Lim, Sheriff Abas, and Al Parreño.

According to election laws, winning candidates may not enter their office unless they submit their SOCEs.

Explaining the ruling, COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said that the decision is backed by legal precedents, and would be beneficial not just to the LP but to other parties and candidates as well.

“The extension will have a huge effect. The extension will benefit everyone. Not just one party in particular. The extension will be available to everyone,” Jimenez said.