Five winners of Senate race file SOCE at Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   June 13, 2019   •   1725

MANILA, Philippines – At least five of the 12 winners in the 2019 Senatorial race have filed their Statement of Campaign Expenditures (SOCE) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, June 13.

Senators Cynthia Villar and Nancy Binay led the filing of the SOCE based on Comelec records.

Villar, who clinched the number one spot with more than 25 million votes, filed her campaign expense report on June 11 or two days before the deadline set by Comelec.

Binay, who finished 12th in the race also filed her SOCE last June 11.

Poe, who nestled at the second spot, submitted her report in the afternoon of June 13, as well as Senators-elect Bong Go and Pia Cayetano, who finished third and fourth in the Senate race, respectively.

Comelec said that most of the winning and losing candidates in the May midterm polls were able to beat the SOCE filing deadline.

Section 14 of Republic Act 1766 requires every candidate and political party to file with the Commission the full, true and itemized Soce within 30 days after the election day.

Also required to file such document are those whose campaigns were self-funded, those who did not incur any expenditure, and those who did not pursue their campaign activities even after filing their candidacies or those who withdrew their candidacies.

The poll body said that based on Comelec resolution 10505, the office of an elected candidate who failed to submit the required documents shall be considered vacant pursuant to Section 11 of the Omnibus Election Code until he/she has complied within six months from the proclamation.

“They cannot assume office until they submitted their Statement of Contribution and Expenditures,” said Atty. Efraim Bag-id, acting director of Comelec campaign finance office.

The poll body emphasized the importance of the filing of SOCE as this will help them determine whether candidates and political parties followed the set campaign spending limits.

The Comelec resolution also states that winning candidates and party-lists with late SOCE filing but still within the period of six months shall be charged with lower administrative fines, depending on the position sought by the candidate.

Losing candidates, meanwhile, who failed to submit their SOCE will be meted out an administrative fine of P10,000.

“Iyong mga kandidato na natalo at hindi nakapagsumite ng kanilang Soce, depende po ito kung first timer po sila o second timer. Kapag first timer, administrative po iyan. Kapag 2 or more na beses na hindi sila nakapag- file ng kanilang SOCE e maliban sa administrative fine, they are perpetually disqualified to hold public office whether elective or appointed position,” Bag-id said.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, 20 candidates for the Senate., 50 party-list groups and three political parties have already filed their Soce.

Comelec said other candidates and political parties may submit their Soce before the campaign finance office until 8 p.m. of June 13. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Voter registration resumes Jan. 20, except in Taal-hit areas — Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday announced that the voter registration for the 2022 presidential elections will resume nationwide on Monday, January 20, except in some areas in Batangas and Cavite that were affected by the ongoing eruption of Taal Volcano.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said voter registration in municipalities and towns of Batangas located within the immediate danger zone and other areas surrounding the Taal Volcano will be suspended.

These places include:

  • Agoncillo
  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • Mataas na Kahoy
  • San Nicolas
  • San Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay

Voter registration will also be suspended in the following localities outside Taal zone but still affected by ashfall, earthquakes, impassable roads and power interruptions:

  • Balayan, Batangas
  • Cuenca, Batangas
  • Lian, Batangas
  • Mabini, Batangas
  • Mabini, Batangas
  • San Luis, Batangas
  • Tuy, Batangas
  • Tagaytay, Cavite
  • Alfonso, Cavite
  • Amadeo, Cavite
  • Indang, Cavite
  • Silang, Cavite

Jimenez said the resumption of the voter registration in areas affected by Taal Volcano unrest will be “contingent on the ability of those places to recover and return to normalcy.”

Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, which signifies an imminent hazardous explosion, despite decreasing emissions. The volcano belched ash and smoke last Sunday, January 12, which sent thousands of residents scrambling to safety.

Aside from these areas, Comelec said the resumption of voter registration will also be deferred in Makilala, North Cotabato which was hit by a strong earthquake last December 2019.

Registration is also postponed in 24 municipalities in Palawan province to give way to the May 11, 2020 plebiscite on the proposal to split the province into three areas.

As for the rest of the country, the poll body said the application and updating of records will be done at the Office of the Election Officer from Mondays to Saturdays including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age on or before election day or on May 9, 2022; a resident of the Philippines for at least one year; and must have lived in the place where he or she intends to vote for at least six months on or before election day.

The registration period will run until September 30, 2021, except on the following dates:

  • April 9, 2020 (Maundy Thursday)
  • April 10, 2020 (Good Friday)
  • December 25, 2020 (Christmas Day)
  • April 1, 2021 (Maundy Thursday)
  • April 2, 2021 (Good Friday)

Comelec also said that registered voters as of May 13, 2019 midterm elections need not apply anew.

Go calls for transparency in Kuwaiti gov’t probe on death of Filipina worker

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has called on Kuwaiti authorities to be transparent with their investigation into the death of another Filipina household worker.

The victim, Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, allegedly died at the hands of her Kuwaiti employer.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Go condemned Villavende’s brutal killing and called on Kuwaiti authorities to make sure that the perpetrators in Villavende’s case will be punished according to the fullest extent of their laws.

“Kinokondena ko ‘yung pagpatay kay Jeanelyn at despite the May 2018 agreement between the Philippines and Kuwaiti government, there are still reports of violence and abuses committed against our fellow Filipinos in Kuwait,” he said.

“Masakit na iniiwan ng mga kababayan natin ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay upang makapagtrabaho lang sa mga malalayong lugar at mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang kanilang pamilya. Mas masakit malaman na sa kabila ng kanilang sakripisyo, sila ay patuloy na naaabuso at minsan namamatay pa,” he added.

The senator also expressed his sympathy for the family of the victim as he vowed to provide assistance for them, particularly for the medical needs of Villavende’s father, with the help of the Malasakit Center.

“Nakikiramay ako sa mga naulila ni Jeanelyn. Asahan na kaisa ninyo ako sa paghanap ng agarang hustisya sa pagkamatay ng inyong mahal sa buhay.”

Go also called on concerned government agencies to coordinate in regard to the immediate repatriation of the slain OFW.

“Kailangang masigurado din na maibigay ng gobyerno at maging ng private insurance company ang lahat ng mga benepisyo para sa mga naulila ni Jeanelyn, katulad ng livelihood assistance, death and burial assistance, scholarship sa naiwang kapamilya at iba pa,” he added.

Citing Villavende’s case, Go underscored the need for a separate department to deal with all overseas Filipino workers’ concerns.

In July 2018, he filed Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.

The proposed measure aims to establish a Department of Overseas Filipinos to serve as the umbrella agency to specifically address all the issues and concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families, to afford them full protection, promote their full and just employment, mitigate the social costs back home, and serve as a channel to address OFW issues and grievances.

The measure further creates an Overseas Filipinos Assistance Fund to provide financial support to Filipino migrants in distress, inclusive of repatriation and provisions for life-saving funds in times of great emergency or distress, and provides training and livelihood loans for OFWs returning to the Philippines for good.

The bill also mandates the creation of “OFW Malasakit Centers” in all provinces and major cities to ensure prompt and efficient provision of services to OFWs and their families, such as acquisition of government permits, validation of overseas job offers, grievance and complaints desks and reintegration services.

Under current laws, OFWs need to go to different government agencies scattered in several departments and offices to secure their needed documents and present their other concerns, such as employment and technical education.

If passed into law, the measure is seen to help in curbing issues and inconveniences experienced by Filipino migrant workers and will also provide better protection for them.

DFA calls on deactivated overseas voters to re-register for 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

 (FILE) Filipino household workers who were repatriated from Kuwait show their documents as they arrive at Manila’s international airport, Philippines, 21 February 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday called on overseas Filipino workers (OFW)to re-register in order to vote in the 2022 Presidential elections.

The DFA made the call following information from its overseas voting secretariat that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it deactivated a total of 578,185 overseas voters for failing to participate in the last national and local elections in 2016 and 2019.

The DFA said deactivated overseas voters may re-register when registration opens from December 16, 2019 to September 30, 2021 at the following areas:

  • Any Philippine Embassy, Consulate General, Mission, or Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO)

The DFA said that all Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad from April 9 to May 9, 2022 during the overseas voting period for the 2022 Presidential Elections, and are at least 18 years old on May 9, 2022 and not otherwise disqualified by law, may register as an overseas voter at the said locations.

OFWs, as well as immigrants, seafarers and students who are about to leave for abroad and are not yet registered as overseas voters may also register on the said dates.

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