SEC, Comelec hunt illegal donations
THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) have teamed up to crack down on corporations which may be illegally funding favored political parties or candidates.
The SEC and Comelec signed on Monday a memorandum of agreement (MoA), whereby both agencies committed to be “information-sharing” partners and develop policy ensuring the effective implementation of election laws vis-à-vis the enforcement of the Corporation Code of the Philippines. This mutual assistance and information sharing agreement will take effect in time for the upcoming 2016 national and local elections.
The MoA binds the Comelec to furnish the SEC with information on the following:
-names of corporations or other SEC-registered entities engaged in partisan political activity by making political contributions or donations to candidates and parties, as disclosed in the campaign finance submissions of candidates and parties, as well as in advertising contracts furnished to Comelec by mass media entities, within 30 days from receipt of the disclosure reports, starting from 2016 national and local elections;
-names of corporations, or other SEC-registered entities who have filed their petitions with Comelec to: register as a political party; register as a party-list organization with intent to participate in party-list system of elections, or manifest their intent to participate in the party-list system of elections; and,
-other information the SEC requires to enable it to fulfill its mandate.
Meanwhile, the SEC committed itself to provide the Comelec with the list of names of corporations or other SEC-registered entities who are grantees of primary franchisees and/or secondary licenses or permits as well as other information Comelec requires to enable it to fulfill its mandate.
Both parties also agreed to share information should they reciprocally discover violations of the other laws being enforced by the respective agency.
Section 36(9) of the Corporation Code provides that “no corporation, domestic or foreign, shall give donations in aid of any political party or candidate or for purposes of partisan political activity.”
Section 95 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits the following from making any contributions for purposes of partisan political activity:
-Public or private financial institutions;
-Operators of public utility or those in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation;
-Contractors or subcontractors that supply the government with goods or services or perform construction or other works;
-Grantees of government-granted franchises, incentives, exemptions, allocations, or similar privileges or concessions;
-Those who have been granted loans or accommodations worth more than PhP 100,000 by the government;
-Educational institutions that have received grants of public funds of more than PhP 100,000;
-Civil service officials and employees, and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and
-Foreigners and foreign corporations.
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