MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said 23 barangay (village) officials are now facing criminal charges for alleged anomalies in the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) after the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) filed charges against them before the Department of Justice.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the PNP has already filed 12 criminal cases against 23 barangay officials.
Meanwhile, four more cases will be filed in the next few days while 110 barangay officials are currently under “case buildup” after a total of 318 complainants nationwide reported graft and corrupt practices against them.
“Sunud-sunod na ang pagsampa ng kaso ng PNP-CIDG laban sa mga tiwaling opisyal ng barangay at sa kanilang mga kasabwat sa mga anomalya sa pagbibigay ng SAP. Puspusan na rin ang imbestigasyon at case buildup para masigurong makakalaboso ang mga walanghiyang tao na ito na nakuha pang manggantso sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan (The PNP-CIDG has been consecutively filing charges against corrupt barangay officials and their cohorts in anomalies in the distribution of SAP. There is also a relentless investigation and case buildup to ensure that these unscrupulous people who duped our poor kababayans will be put behind bars),” Año said.
He said most of the anomalies were committed by village chiefs, councilors, treasurers, secretaries, employees, purok leaders, and even social workers.
Cases for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act were filed by the PNP-CIDG against these barangay officials.
The DILG chief recently transferred the investigation of graft and corrupt practices against barangay officials from the DILG field offices to the PNP-CIDG to expedite the investigation and the filing of criminal charges. On the other hand, barangay officials facing complaints that are administrative in nature will still be issued show-cause orders by the DILG and investigated by DILG field units for filing in the Office of the Ombudsman.
He said the PNP is now hard at work in pursuing the investigations and the filing of cases especially now that the government is set to release the second tranche of the SAP emergency subsidy for low-income families later this month.
“Nalalapit na ang pamimigay ng second tranche ng SAP kaya hindi natin hahayaang makapanloko pang muli ang mga ito. Nakatutok ang kapulisan sa mga kasong ito dahil ayaw nating mas lalo pang maagrabyado ang mga SAP beneficiaries (The distribution of the second tranche of SAP is fast approaching so we will not let these people repeat what they did. Our police are keeping a close watch on these cases because we don’t want our SAP beneficiaries to be further aggrieved),” he said.
Splitting, relatives in master list, etc.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said the anomalies committed by the barangay officials range from splitting, falsification of the master list, getting a “cut” or “tara” from the SAP beneficiaries, among others.
Malaya expressed disappointment that the national government and the people counted on the concerned barangay officials to be their anchor and support in this time of pandemic but “they were like leeches who suck the blood out of the government’s SAP assistance”.
In Bacolod City, a punong barangay, barangay secretary, purok president, and liaison officer to the barangay allegedly connived and took back PHP4,000 each from the possession of seven SAP beneficiaries after receiving their PHP6,000 individual cash aid.
A similar incident was reported in Peñablanca, Cagayan by a SAP beneficiary who filed a complaint against a barangay kagawad for demanding for the return of PHP4,000 from the PHP5,500 that she received for the reason that the kagawad was the one who caused the inclusion of the victim in the SAP master list of beneficiaries.
Splitting of SAP assistance and politics in choosing SAP beneficiaries were also noted in several areas of the country.
In San Policarpo, Eastern Samar, a barangay official is under probe for delisting from the master list of beneficiaries those who did not support him during the last elections.
On the other hand, a barangay chairman in Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur is the subject of a complaint about selecting SAP beneficiaries who are not qualified under the SAP and using fictitious names in the list of beneficiaries.
In Tondo, Manila, a barangay chairman is the subject of the complaint of five individuals who claimed that the punong barangay single-handedly identified the SAP beneficiaries who are mostly his close friends and relatives to the detriment of other qualified beneficiaries.
“Mayroon pa ngang insidente sa Pasay na isinama diumano ng punong barangay sa listahan ang kanyang mga empleyado sa laundry shop sa listahan ng SAP beneficiaries at pagkatapos ay pinapirma na suweldo daw nila iyon (There is also this incident in Pasay where a barangay chairperson included the employees in his laundry shop in the list of SAP beneficiaries and made it appear that the money is for their salaries and asked them to sign it),” Malaya said.
In Lapu-Lapu City, a social worker is under investigation for facilitating the inclusion of her four relatives, an in-law, and her son’s girlfriend in the list of SAP beneficiaries even if they are not qualified.
Similarly, in Cebu City, a barangay health worker is the subject of a complaint after he included his in-laws in the master list even if they are allegedly not qualified.
“Hindi po makakalusot ang mga tiwaling opisyal ng barangay na ito. Sisiguraduhin natin na pananagutan nila ang kanilang ginawa sa mga tao (These corrupt village officials cannot get away with what they did. We will make sure that they will be held liable for what they did to the people),” said Malaya. (ia/DILG)