MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said some 183 barangay officials are now under investigation by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for alleged graft and corruption in the distribution of the social amelioration program.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that following President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement of PHP30,000 reward for every confirmed incident of barangay official involved in SAP aid distribution anomaly, complaints poured in at the DILG and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) hotlines, thus prompting the PNP-CIDG to probe said 183 barangay officials.
“Sa dami ng ating reklamong natanggap, 183 na ang iniimbestigahan ng ating kapulisan dahil may posibleng probable cause dito. Hindi titigil ang ating kapulisan sa pagdakip sa mga mandarambong na mga barangay official na siyang talagang virus ng lipunan (Out of the numerous complaints we have received, 183 are under investigation by the police because they found probable cause. Our police will not stop arresting these barangay officials who are plunderers and are considered virus of society). These are the kinds of arrests na kating-kati gawin ng ating PNP dahil talagang gigil din sila sa mga (the PNP are eager to do because they are also angry at) corrupt local officials,” Año said in a news release.
He said the identities of the 183 barangay officials cannot be disclosed yet as investigations are currently underway. He said there are multiple complaints coming in directed to the same barangay officials leading to the piling up of accumulated reports.
“Madaming reklamo (There are a lot of complaints) but we are now sorting them out to pinpoint the cases that have basis, so for now, mayroon tayong (we have) 183 cases na iniimbestigahan na (that are under investigation),” he said.
“Binabalaan ko kayo, kung nag-iisip kayo na mangulimbat ng mga tulong na para sa mga kabarangay ninyo (I am warning you, if your think of plundering aid intended for your constituents), we will come after you,” he added.
He said that as early as the first week of May, arrests of corrupt barangay officials began with the barangay councilor from Hagonoy, Bulacan who was personally mentioned by President Duterte in a public address. Barangay captain Maria Luz Leal Ferrer of Barangay 8 in Isabela, Negros Occidental was also charged by the PNP for alleged anomalies in the distribution of the government’s SAP financial aid.
Año said that following a thorough investigation conducted by PNP Isabela, Ferrer was accused of falsifying the list of beneficiaries in her barangay. Reports and accounts from the credible witnesses and scrutiny of the alleged manipulated list of SAP beneficiaries also point to the suspect.
Mae Fajardo, a municipal social worker, was also arrested together with Ferrer for allegedly falsifying the official SAP recipient list.
Ferrer was charged for the violation of Republic Act 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code for falsification of public documents together with Fajardo.
The DILG has recently ordered the PNP and requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to give utmost priority in investigating reports of graft and corruption in the distribution of SAP financial assistance in the community.
Report incidents of corruption
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya encouraged everyone to report incidents of “kaltas,” “splitting,” falsification and other corrupt practices to the nearest police station or DILG field office located in their locality.
“Magandang simula na may 183 barangay officials na ang iniimbestigahan ng ating kapulisan (The fact that we have 183 barangay officials under probe by the police is a good start). This only means that the people are participating and are aware of their responsibility in protecting their rights. Huwag kayong matakot. Tulungan ninyo kami na usigin ang mga tiwaling lider ng mga barangay na ito. Kakampi ninyo ang Pangulong Duterte, ang DILG, at ang kapulisan dito (Don’t be afraid. Help us prosecute corrupt leaders of these barangays. President Duterte, the DILG and the police are with you in this initiative),” he said.
Malaya said that the President’s PHP30,000 bounty on every confirmed report of corruption in the barangay is an assurance that he backs the arrest of these scalawags.
“Ang PHP30,000 po na ito ay isang patunay na ang ating pamahalaan ay seryoso sa paghuli sa mga kurakot at tiwaling opisyal ng barangay (This PHP30,000 reward is a proof that the government is serious in going after corrupt barangay officials),” he said.
He encouraged all concerned individuals to call the government hotline 8888 for graft and corruption cases against barangay and local officials. He also said all DILG and PNP stations are open to receive reports from the people. (IA)