By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to file election offense charges against candidates who allegedly overspent during the 2013 campaign period.
Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia said they decided to audit older cases first since their Campaign Finance Office is just new.
But, he said they will also tackle later the candidates in the 2016 elections.
“Looking at their expenses (in the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures) when compared to their limits, that is the easy part. But doing audit and digging deeper, that is a different story. It is still ongoing,” said Guia.
Based on Section 100 of the Omnibus Election Code, “no candidate shall overspend for his election campaign than the amount set by the law.”
Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7166 of 1991, on the other hand, states that every candidate for president and vice president is allowed to spend P10. For other bets, P3 for every voter while political parties may spend P5.
Independent candidates are allowed to spend P5 for every voter in the area they are running in.
According to the poll official, most of those set to be filed with criminal cases in the 2013 elections are local officials such as councilors and mayors.
“Our law department is already set to file cases in the courts after we examined them,” Guia said.
In fact, he said, they already started indicting those who were found to have overspent in their last en banc meeting.
An election offense carries the penalty of imprisonment of one to six years, disqualification to hold public office, and deprivation of the right of suffrage.