The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has recommended to the Office of the Ombudsman the imposition of disciplinary action against 20 barangay officials in Metro Manila for violating enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols.
“We want to send a message sa mga pasaway na barangay official that the DILG will not tolerate any violation of ECQ protocols. As government officials, we should take the lead in following the law and not in breaking it,” saidDILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
“Wala tayong sasantuhin. Patuloy ang pagtanggap natin ng mga reklamo kaya patuloy din ang pagsasampa natin ng kaso sa Office of the Ombudsman,” he adds.
In a letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martires dated 16 June 2020, DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño said that the 20 barangay officials were initially sent show cause orders, pursuant to Administrative Order No. 267 delegating the supervisory powers of the President to the DILG, to seek for their response to the allegations hurled against them.
Finding their response insufficient, Diño said they found enough evidence and ground to warrant their endorsement to the Office of the Ombudsman pursuant to Section 21 and 26 of RA 6770.
"Patong-patong ang mga reklamo at sumbong na natanggap namin laban sa kanila kaya sa kabila ng kanilang sagot sa show cause order ay minabuti naming ipadala pa din sa Ombudsman ang mga ebidensyang aming nakalap," said Diño.
Of the 20 punong barangays, 5 are from Caloocan City; another 5 from Quezon City; 2 from Parañaque City; 1 each from Mandaluyong City, Las Piñas, Manila City, Makati, Pasay City, Taguig City, Marikina City, and Muntinlupa City.
He says that their offenses involve violations in the implementation of physical distancing in engagements with the citizens of barangays, illegal cockfighting, gambling, poor enforcement of lockdown protocols as children were seen playing in the streets, negligence and gross neglect of duty, among others.
He adds that reports of anomalies relating to the Social Amelioration Program have been endorsed to the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group for case-build and filing of criminal cases.
Diño said that the various complaints were lodged with the DILG Emergency Operation Center, Hotline 8888, and even e-mail and text messages and that his teams “went to the ground to validate and confirm the complaints” to ensure that cases to be filed have merit.
“Sa pamamagitan ng mga reklamong nakakarating sa amin through government hotlines, social media, through texts and email, at mayroon pang nagpupunta mismo dito sa DILG Central Office nagkakaroon tayo ng lead na iniimbistigahan natin. I organized several teams na personal na pinupuntahan ang mga barangay at mga nagreklamo para tiyaking tama at may basehan ang reklamo,” Diño explains.
He says that most cases were found to be valid as they were not isolated incidents but have been filed by multiple numbers of individuals. “Alam mo kadalasan, may 50 reklamong nakakaabot sa amin para lamang sa isang opisyal ng barangay. Doon pa lang malalaman mo na hindi lang pamumulitika kundi talagang mataas ang probability na may ginawa talagang mali.”
Diño says that the public can expect more cases to reach the Office of the Ombudsman since his office is currently investigating more than a hundred barangay executives for various ECQ violations.