MANILA – More people are coming forward to file complaints against their barangay officials on alleged anomalies in the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) payout as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday announced that 134 barangay officials are now facing criminal charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año, in a news release, said this represents a 320-percent increase in the number of barangay officials that are now facing criminal charges for alleged offenses in the distribution of the first tranche of SAP cash aid in a matter of four days.
Last May 20, there were only 42 barangay officials who were charged by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation Group (PNP-CIDG).
“Hindi ninyo matatakasan ang mga panlolokong ginawa ninyo sa pamimigay ng ayuda. Sinira ninyo ang tiwala ng gobyerno at ng inyong mga kabarangay kaya sa kalaunan, sa kulungan ang bagsak ninyo (You cannot escape your acts of fraud in distributing aid. You destroyed the trust of the government and your constituents so later on, you will land behind bars),” Año said.
He said that the PNP-CIDG will file nine more cases in the next few days, and is fast-tracking the case buildup on 86 other cases.
The DILG chief commended the PNP-CIDG for its expeditious handling of all complaints by the public on SAP anomalies.
“Good job to the PNP-CIDG! Mabuhay kayo!” he said.
He said a total of 318 complainants went to the PNP-CIDG and its regional field units to express their disgust and disappointment and to give statements over the wrongdoings of their barangay officials during the SAP distribution.
DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya thanked the DOJ and the Prosecutor General’s Office for ordering all provincial and city prosecutors to prioritize the preliminary investigation of cases against barangay officials allegedly involved in SAP anomalies so that criminal information may be filed with the courts.
“We are grateful to the DOJ and the Prosecutor General for prioritizing these cases. We need to send a strong message to corrupt barangay officials that their criminal activities will not be tolerated,” he said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento recently instructed all prosecutors all over the country to set the preliminary investigations as soon as possible, to monitor progress of such cases which have taken on “a sinister and disgraceful character, considering that money intended for poor hungry people is unlawfully taken away from them.”
In Boac, Marinduque, a barangay chairman, two barangay kagawads (councilors) and a Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairperson have been charged because of their alleged illegal collection of PHP50 processing fee from each SAP beneficiary.
A similar incident was reported in Binmaley, Pangasinan where the barangay captain and his cohort reportedly collected PHP1,000 from a complainant after receiving his SAP assistance.
“Sa Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur naman, isinuplong ng mga residente ang isang punong barangay dahil sa pagkaltas ng tig-PHP2,000 mula sa 132 SAP recipients. Akala siguro nitong mga opisyal ng barangay na ito ay middleman sila at kailangang may komisyon sila mula sa (In Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, the residents complained against a barangay chairperson who collected PHP2,000 from each of the 132 SAP recipients. These barangay officials might be thinking that they are middlemen and they need to get commission from) SAP,” he said.
Malaya said politics was sometimes at play in the giving out of SAP in some barangays particularly in Eastern Samar where a barangay captain reported that the mayor of his town allegedly deprived all of the residents in his barangay of receiving SAP because he is not a political supporter of the mayor.
“Ilang beses na naming inuulit. Hindi criteria ang pagiging kamag-anak o kakampi sa politika sa pamimigay ng SAP. Para ito sa mga kapus-palad, anuman ang katayuan (We have been repeating a lot of times. Being a relative or political ally is not a criteria in distributing SAP. This is for the needy, regardless of status),” he said. (ia/DILG)