Thursday, December 12, 2013

Espino, Ate Vi, ER Ejercito, Biazon must step down - Comelec

Gov. Espino submitted his SOCE last June 10.
Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. (left) shows documents
duly certified by the Comelec Provincial Office in Dagupan City that he
submitted his statement of election contributions and expenditures
(SOCE) last June 10 at 3:40 p.m.  contrary to the
announcement of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes that the Governor,
along with 400 local officials, including 20 congressmen, failed to submit
his SOCE. With the Governor is Provincial Administrator
Rafael Howard F. Baraan(right). (PIO Photo by Meinard Sadim)
At least 20 representatives and more than 400 elected local officials will have to step down from their posts until they fully comply with the law on the filing of the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that under the poll body’s agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), these elected officials are not allowed to assume office until they have fully complied with the SOCE requirements.

“Late na nga kami eh, it’s already December and we have to come out with this listing kasi matatagal nang nakaupo ang mga ito. Nag assume ng June 30 pero dapat di nagpayagang mag assume ito kasi wala pa silang Statement of Contributions and Expenditures na validly submitted,” Brillantes said.

Aside from the 20 representatives, other officials who have to step down from their posts include 4 governors, 1 vice governor, 26 mayors, 35 vice mayors, 278 councilors, 11 provincial board members, and 48 city board members.

Included in the list are former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Muntinlupa Congressman Rodolfo Biazon, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson, Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr., Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, and Laguna Governor ER Ejercito who is also facing a disqualification case for overspending.

Brillantes said if there are no successors, the position will be vacant temporarily until the requirements will be completed.

“In the meantime...where there is no succession, there will be a temporary vacancy. Kagaya sa Congressman walang succession yan eh. There will be a temporary vacancy in the position. Kung governor ang hindi nagfile, edi yung vice-governor will act in the meantime until compliances are made.”

In a tweet this morning, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said no deadline has been set for these elected officials to submit their proper SOCEs but they will have to vacate their posts until they do so.
Meanwhile, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto, husband of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, said in a statement that the Comelec officer of Batangas was also surprised with Santos’ alleged failure to comply with the poll body’s requirements.

“Governor Vi filed on June 6, earlier than the deadline, using the Comelec prescribed form. We followed all laws, rules and regulations. We have a certificate of compliance dated June 6 from Comelec Batangas that we complied,” Senator Recto said in a statement.

He added that they have reviewed their documents and did not see any flaw. “We reviewed just now all the documents we filed and we do not see any mistakes. If there are any mistakes, the Comelec should have informed us so that we can rectify any error, if there’s any.”

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