A newly-elected official (NEO) will not be allowed to take his or her oath of office without filing his or her Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) according to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año as he reminded NEOs to submit their SOCEs on or before June 8, 2022 to avoid any delays in their assumption to duty.

“It’s plain and simple: No SOCE, no oath taking for NEOs. We encourage our NEOs to start their term right by complying with the provisions of the law and submitting their SOCE to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on or before June 8, 2022,” Año said.

The SOCE includes cash and in-kind contributions received by the candidate from a political party and other sources. It also includes expenditures paid out of personal funds, out of cash contributions and incurred using in-kind contributions.

Año said that it is incumbent among NEOs to declare their SOCEs prior to the start of their term as Republic Act (RA) No. 7166 or the "Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act" mandates that no official will be allowed to assume their elected posts without filing their SOCE with the Comelec.

Section 14 of RA 7166 states that “Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within 30 days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election. No person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures required.”

The same law stipulates that: “failure to file the statements or reports in connection with electoral contributions and expenditures as required herein shall constitute an administrative offense for which the offenders shall be liable to pay an administrative fine ranging from One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) to thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00), at the discretion of the commission.”

“Sana po ay simulan ninyo ng tama ang inyong mga termino. Comply with your legal obligation as enshrined in our Constitution,” Año said.

For the commission of a second or subsequent failure to file his/her SOCE, the law states that the offender shall be subject to perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

He likewise reminded NEOs that during the filing of their Certificate of Candidacy (COC), they have vowed ‘to file, with the Comelec, within 30 days after Election Day, a full, true and itemized SOCE in connection with the election.’

“It was there on their COCs that they filed during the start of their bid to run for public office. So we implore our NEOs to walk the talk and comply with the law and their commitment to the Comelec,” he said.

The DILG Secretary further said that the Department and Comelec signed a memorandum of agreement on March 14, 2012 giving the DILG and its attached agencies capacity to bar NEOs from partaking in an oath of office and allowing a candidate to assume office without a certification from Comelec signifying that he has successfully complied with the SOCE obligation.

He said that by June 16, 2022, Comelec is expected to submit the said certification to the DILG.

Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that filing of SOCEs are not only limited to winning candidates but is likewise extended to non-winners as well as the political parties.

“There is a misconception that a SOCE is filed only by NEOs but we are stating that according to the law, even non-winners and political parties are required to submit the said statement. Ito po at para sa lahat nang nag-file ng COC nila,” Malaya said.

Prescribed SOCE forms can be downloaded from the Comelec website, www.comelec.gov.ph.

Original Article at: https://dilg.gov.ph/news/DILG-reminds-newly-elected-officials-to-file-SOCE-on-or-before-June-8/NC-2022-1076

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