Saturday, December 14, 2013

Espino’s lawyer mum on legal action vs Comelec

By Mortz C. Ortigoza
LINGAYEN – The lawyer of Governor Amado T. Espino is mum about whether her client will sue the personnel of the Commission on Election whose negligence resulted in the loss of Espino’s Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).
Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine Baniqued said the governor wanted to find out why the two sets of the SOCE he submitted in Manila have not been received by the Comelec’s central office.
“Kasi hindi natin maintindihan iyong documents (from Comelec Pangasinan) magkasama. Pag nawala bakit kay gob lang ang nawala?” she posed.
Baniqued said onn June 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm the governor sent the two sets to the provincial Comelec office in Dagupan City as evidenced by the certification issued by that office.
She said Comelec-Pangasinan sent on June 21, 2013 all the certified SOCEs of all provincial and congressional candidates in Pangasinan to Comelec-Manila.
 “Two sets, ito iyong resibo ng JRS. It was received by the election record department, law department particularly the finance and statistics department. Dalawa ito. So halimbawa nawala doon sa isa meron pang isa. Tapos of all (SOCE) kay Gob lang ang (nawala)”.
Recently, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes told the press that under the poll body’s agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), elected officials are not allowed to assume office until they have fully complied with the SOCE requirements.
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 SOCE.
“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 na payagang mag assume ito kasi wala pa silang SOCE na validly submitted,” Brillantes said.
Aside from the 20 representatives, other officials asked to step down from their posts include four governors, a vice governor, 26 mayors, 35 vice mayors, 278 councilors, 11 provincial board members, and 48 city board members.

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