IF LAWS on campaign finance were enforced to the letter, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose ‘Jinggoy’ Estrada, and Sergio Osmeña III, along with Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda R. Marcos and perhaps even Vice President Jejomar Binay should not be occupying their seats right now. That would be because they or the political parties that nominated them have yet to submit to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) a Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SECE), as required by law.
A CLEAR, working system – with specific procedures and dedicated staff personnel – triggers quick, correct, and complete action by some government agencies on access to information requests. But the absence of such a system in most other agencies, as well as the lack of fully defined rules and procedures that all agencies must observe in responding to requests, remain barriers to access.
THE COMMISSION on Elections has spelled out campaign finance rules that are clear about spending limits, reporting requirements and deadlines, and penalties. The clarity ends on paper, however.
IT WAS 1992; Fidel V. Ramos had just been voted as president, and Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada as vice president. Presidential bet Miriam Defensor Santiago was crying foul, saying she had been cheated.