- A Comelec official said a winning candidate cannot assume office if his or her party failed to submit its SOCE
- This means that VP-elect Robredo’s fate hangs in jeopardy over such predicament
- However, Robredo’s lawyer said it’s just a case of late filing, not non-filing
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President-elect Leni Robredo may end up unable to discharge the duties of her office because Liberal Party (LP), the political group where she belongs, failed to beat the deadline in the submission of the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).
According to Comelec spokesperson Atty. James Jimenez, the law states that any person elected to a public office shall not “enter or assume the duties of his office until he has filed the SOCE”, referring to Republic Act (RA) 7166, otherwise known as the “Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms Act.”
“It is in the law that if the political party was not able to file the SOCE, their candidates that won cannot assume their posts,” explained Jimenez. “That is what the law says right now. As you can imagine, that might have a far reaching consequences.”
This made the LP, or any political party who participated in the election for that matter, answerable to all their candidates including Robredo and others who were declared winners in the poll.
“If you are looking at it from the point of view of someone who ran for mayor, for example, the mayor who filed his SOCE is not at fault if the party failed to file its own SOCE,” Jimenez said.
The deadline for the filing of SOCE was set on Thursday, June 9 while the submission of a certification on SOCE to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is until June 17.
While Robredo managed to fulfil his duty, in as far as submitting the SOCE is concerned, LP and its standard bearer, Mar Roxas, failed to do the same.
Roxas asked for a 14-day extension to file his and the party’s SOCE, citing the voluminous documents needed to be attached. He is the only presidential candidate who didn’t make the submission in time.
Other winning candidates who have yet to submit their SOCEs are Senators-elect Joel Villanueva, Frank Drilon, Leila de Lima, Sherwin Gatchalian, Riza Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan as well as some governors, mayors and councilors all over the country.
Meanwhile, Robredo’s legal counsel, Atty. Romulo Macalintal, said it’s still premature to say that the incoming vice president’s fate is in peril over LP’s non-submission of campaign expenditures report.
Macalintal pointed out it’s just a case of late-filing, and not non-filing, which means Robredo can still assume office on June 30 since the LP’s SOCE will certainly be submitted before that date.