Published 27 May 2022, The Daily Tribune
We continue with our discussion on the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures or SOCE. Notably, no person shall make any contribution in any name except his/her own nor shall any candidate or treasurer of a political party receive a contribution or enter or record the same in any name other than that of the person by whom it was actually made (Section 98 of the Omnibus Election Code). Violation of this provision constitutes an election offense.
On the other hand, the term “expenditure” includes the payment or delivery of money of anything of value, or a contract, promise, or agreement to make an expenditure, for the purpose of influencing the results of the election. It shall also include the use of facilities personally owned by the candidate, the money value of the use of which can be assessed based on the rates prevailing in the area (Section 94, ibid).
The following are lawful expenditures:
1) For traveling expenses of the candidates and campaign personnel in the course of the campaign and for personal expenses incident thereto;
2) For compensation of campaigners, clerks, stenographers, messengers, and other persons actually employed in the campaign;
3) For telegraph and telephone tolls, postage, freight and express delivery charges;
4) For stationery, printing and distribution of printed matters relative to candidacy;
5) For employment of watchers at the polls;
6) For rent, maintenance and furnishing of campaign headquarters, office or place of meetings;
7) For political meetings and rallies and the use of sound systems, lights and decorations during said meetings and rallies;
8) For newspaper, radio, television and other public advertisements;
9) For employment of counsel, the cost of which shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Section 100 and 101 of the Omnibus Election Code;
10) For copying and classifying list of voters, investigating and challenging the right to vote of persons registered in the lists the costs of which shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses that a candidate or political party may have incurred under Sections 100 and 101 of the Omnibus Election Code; or
11) For printing sample ballots in such color, size and maximum number as may be authorized by the Commission and the cost of such printing shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Sections 100 and 101 of the Omnibus Election Code (Section 102, ibid).
Unlike a contribution that has no limit, there is a limit when it comes to expenditure, such as the following:
1) Presidential and Vice -Presidential candidates — P10 per registered voter; 2) All other candidates with political parties- P3 per registered voter; 3) Independent candidates — P5 per registered voter; and4) Political Parties — P5 per registered voter. (Section 13, RA 7166).
Any candidate who will violate the foregoing expenditure limits shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation.
In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage (Section 264, ibid).
Apart from expenditure limits, there are prohibited expenditures. No candidate, his or her spouse or any relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, or his campaign manager, agent or representative shall during the campaign period, on the day before and on the day of the election, directly or indirectly, make any donation, contribution or gift in cash or in kind, or undertake or contribute to the construction or repair of roads, bridges, school buses, puericulture centers, medical clinics and hospitals, churches or chapels cement pavements, or any structure for public use or for the use of any religious or civic organization: Provided, that normal and customary religious dues or contributions, such as religious stipends, tithes or collections on Sundays or other designated collection days, as well as periodic payments for legitimate scholarships established and school contributions habitually made before the prohibited period, are excluded from the prohibition. The same prohibition applies to treasurers, agents or representatives of any political party. (Section 104, ibid) It is also unlawful for any candidate, political party, organization, or any person to give or accept, free of charge, directly or indirectly, transportation, food or drinks or things of value during the five hours before and after a public meeting, on the day preceding the election, and on the day of the election; or to give or contribute, directly or indirectly, money or things of value for such purpose (Section 89, ibid).
In conclusion, regardless of who we voted for and the outcome of the recently concluded elections, let us hope and pray that our elected leaders do have the competence and capacity to lead and unite our nation to rise from the challenges we are currently facing.
For more of Dean Nilo Divina’s legal tidbits, please visit www.divinalaw.com. For comments and questions, please send an email to email@example.com.