MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday reported that there are now 134 barangay officials who are facing criminal raps over the alleged anomalies in the distribution of cash aid under government’s social amelioration program (SAP).
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the development represents a 320% increase in the number of barangay executives who are facing complaints before the Prosecutor’s Office of the Department of Justice for their alleged offenses.
Last May 20, the DILG reported that 42 barangay officials were charged by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in relation to the alleged SAP irregularities.
“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,” Año said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Año revealed that a total of 318 complainants went to the PNP-CIDG to report the alleged wrongdoings of their barangay officials during the SAP distribution.
The PNP-CIDG will file nine more cases in the next few days as it fast tracks the case build-up on 86 other cases, he added.
The DILG earlier said that “splitting” is among the top complaints leveled against erring barangay officials, in which they allegedly divide the SAP cash aid of one family to benefit other families.
Collecting “processing fees” and getting a cut from the SAP financial aid of beneficiaries also emerged as among the top complaints against some barangay officials.
DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya also said that politics was sometimes at play in the distribution of SAP in some areas where local executives allegedly deprived residents from receiving cash assistance because they are not among their political supporters.
“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 ano man ang katayuan,” Malaya stressed.
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 said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento earlier directed all prosecutors in the country to set the preliminary investigations, as soon as possible, to monitor the 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.”
“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,” the DILG said.
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