The number of barangay officials who are facing charges before the Prosecutor’s Office of the Department of Justice for alleged anomalies in the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program financial aid leaped by almost 80 percent in a matter of three (3) days, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that there are now 42 barangay officials who are facing criminal charges for SAP pay-out irregularities as of May 20, 2020, a huge jump from the 23 officials who were earlier charged criminally last May 17, 2020. The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed the criminal cases upon orders of Año.
“Seryosohan po ito. Nalalapit na ang paghuhukom para sa mga tiwaling opisyales ng mga barangay. Hindi po titigil ang ating kapulisan hanggat hindi mapapanagot sa batas ang mga kagaya nila,” he said.
The DILG Chief said “splitting” is among the top complaints leveled against erring barangay officials who reportedly divide the SAP cash aid of one family allegedly to benefit other families.
“Malinaw ang batas at ang polisiya ng DSWD na ang SAP cash aid ay para lamang sa pamilya ng nakalistang SAP beneficiary. Sapat lamang iyon para sa kanila at mahigpit na pinagbabawal ang paghahati-hati nito,” he said.
Barangay Captain Gary Remoquillo in San Pedro City, Laguna is now in hot water after supposedly splitting the SAP cash incentives among the residents, a practice which was allegedly done following the procedures of nearby home owners associations (HOAs) in the area.
A similar incident was also reported in Brgy. Batang, Irosin, Sorsogon where Punong Barangay Omar G. Guban, Junel G. Guban, and Barangay Health Worker (BHW) Girlie Prejas reportedly asked the SAP beneficiary to return P2,000 from the P5,000 cash assistance so that this may allegedly be given to those not included in the list of SAP beneficiaries.
In Manito, Albay, Brgy Councilor Ma. Dely Ala allegedly deprived the complainants half of the amount of their SAP cash assistance allegedly to benefit those who were not included in the master list of beneficiaries. Barangay officials in Brgy. Nati, Maasin, So. Leyte; Brgy. Jordan, Villaba, Leyte; Barangay Luzong, Manabo, Abra; Brgy,Mariblo, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City; Brgy. Old Balara, Quezon City are also in a similar sticky situation because of alleged “splitting” of SAP cash assistance.
Aside from splitting, getting a cut from the SAP financial aid of beneficiaries also emerged as a top complaint against some barangay officials.
“Sa panahon ng krisis, naisipan pa ng mga barangay officials na ito na kumuha ng commission o tara mula sa SAP beneficiaries. That is corruption at its finest. Hindi natin ito palalampasin,” said Año.
Forty-one-year-old Marcialo Mendoza Y Amul, a barangay Ex-O in Olongapo City is currently detained for reportedly asking P3,000 from a SAP beneficiary so that this may allegedly be given to barangay officials. Meanwhile, Barangay Captain Ramon S Jardin, Brgy. Secretary Stephen Jalandon, Purok President Corazon Latoza, and Liason Officer Rose Jean Estador of Brgy. Feliza, Bacolod City allegedly took back P4,000 from the P6,000 financial aid received by the SAP beneficiaries.
Punong Barangay Rey Cabian and officials of Quimloong, Bucay, Abra are also facing criminal charges for alleged conspiracy in illegally collecting their “share” of cash assistance from the SAP beneficiaries.
Suspect Ivor John Laug-laug Casinas of Bansalan, Davao del Sur was arrested during an entrapment operation after he was caught in the act of accepting P1,000 marked money from a SAP beneficiary. Said suspect has been allegedly soliciting money from qualified SAP recipients.
Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said that nepotism is also a big no-no in the distribution of SAP financial aid just like what happened to Barangay 11 Zone 2 District 1, Tondo, Manila City. Barangay chairman Leonardo "Leo" Recto y De Jesus is now facing criminal charges for allegedly single-handedly identifying the beneficiaries who are his close friends and relatives and denying the said financial aid to qualified barangay residents.
A barangay secretary and a barangay treasurer in Tallungan, Aparri, Cagayan are also facing charges for allegedly including themselves among the SAP beneficiaries when they are disqualified from the SAP since they are local government officials.
“Sa pagbibigay ng ayuda, dapat hindi basehan ang pagiging kamag-anak, kapamilya or kaibigan. Ang SAP ay para sa mga tunay na nangangailangan, hindi sa mga katropa,” he said.
Malaya said that the PNP-CIDG has processed complaints from a total of 374 complainants against some 155 suspects from April 1 to May 19, 2020. Majority of these suspects are barangay chairpersons and their associates. There are also numerous complaints received against barangay councilors, barangay secretary or treasurer, municipal councilor, Barangay Health Workers (BHW), Purok Leaders/Home Owners Association (HOA) Presidents, Liaison Officer, DSWD Social Worker, SK Chairman, and Day Care Teacher.
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.
Año 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 which 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.