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Firms’ campaign donations curbed by new Comelec resolution

The Comelec building in Intramuros, Manila, as seen in this BusinessMIrror file photo.

LOCAL companies now face restrictions in making campaign donations to their chosen candidates under a new resolution of the Commission on Elections.

Resolution No.10772 issued last week by the Comelec en banc qualified what the “reasonable” amount of campaign donations that domestic corporations are allowed to provide candidates under Republic Act No. 11232 or the Revised Corporation Code.

Under the new issuance, the poll body said a “reasonable” donation shall “not exceed 5 percent of the corporation’s taxable income on a taxable year immediately preceding elections from trade, business, or profession.”

Comelec said: “Every domestic corporation, allowed by law to give contribution or donation, whether in cash or in kind, shall recieve or demand an official receipt from political party, party-list, candidate or their duly authorized representative to whom the contribution is made.”

The concerned firms will be mandated to report their contribution with the Campaign Finance Office within 30 days following the day of the election.

Also, public or private financial institutions and educational institutions which received grants of public funds of at least P100,000 are banned from making campaign donations.

Likewise prohibited from giving similar contributions are natural or juridical persons engaged in public utility or in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation; contracts of subcontracts to supply the government with goods or services or to perform construction or other works; granted franchises, incentives, exemptions, allocations or similar privileges or concessisions by the government including government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCC); those who one year prior to the date of the election, have been granted loans or other accommodations in excess of P100,000 by the government including GOCCs;

Comelec reiterated that officials or employees in the Civil Service or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and foreigners and foreign corporations are also not allowed to give campaign donations.

It reiterated that solicitation or receiving campaign contributions from the said companies is considered illegal.

The officials and employees of the companies that violate Comelec Resolution 10772 could be sanctioned with imprisonment of not less than a year, but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation.

The new Comelec issuance will take effect immediately after its publication in two daily newspapers of general circulation.

In another development, Comelec said it is now too late to remove from the 2022 ballot those party-lists with questions in their qualification.

The poll body issued the statement after election watchdog Kontra Daya released on Tuesday the full report of its screening on the 177 party-list groups participating in the 2022 polls.     

Of these groups, 124 were flagged by Kontra Daya for having nominees who are part of “political dynasties or big businesses, having unclear or questionable advocacies and representations, having connections with the government or military, having incumbent local officials as party-list nominees, or having party-list nominees with court cases.”

Comelec Commissioner George M. Garcia lauded Kontra Daya for its expose, but he noted such could no longer be used to affect the 2022 ballots.

He said the period for questioning the qualification of party-lists has lapsed after they published their manifestation of intent to participate in the 2022 polls.

“These are procedurally moot at this point. The decisions on their accreditations have long attained finality hence, immutable and can no longer be disturbed,” Garcia said in a statement.

“Being no injunctive writ from a higher court, these PLs (party-lists groups) will have to be included in the ballots,” he added.

Last week, Comelec said the National Printing Office (NPO) already printed more than half or 49.7 million of the 67.44-million  ballots, which will be used for the 2022 automated elections.

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