The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region VII said that a total of 78 complaints related to the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in Central Visayas have been handled by the Region’s Emergency Operation Center Legal Team.
DILG-7 Regional Director Leocadio T. Trovela said that EOC legal team is primarily tasked to handle, verify, and process SAP complaints received by the regional office through the EOC hotline system, its official Facebook page, electronic mail, and from walk-in clients.
“Nakakalungkot dito sa Region 7. Merong mangilan-ngilan pero hindi naman ganoon kadami,” he said.
Trovela said that of the 78 SAP complaints received as of July, 2020, 30 are from Cebu Province; 30 from Cebu City; seven from Bohol, five from Negros Oriental, four from Mandaue City, and two from Siquijor.
He said that of the total number of complaints, 57 were referred to DILG field offices for verification.
Trovela added 21 others involving splitting of SAP, government officials pocketing or misusing cash funds, or malicious inclusion of beneficiaries were referred to the Philippine National Police -Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
Meanwhile, 10 were filed by the PNP-CIDG before the Prosecutor’s Office while nine were considered closed due to the refusal of complainant to pursue charges or lack of basis of the allegations, among other reasons.
On the other hand, 15 complaints were forwarded to the Office of Secretary Ano, through the Legal and Legislative Liaison Service, for further review before administrative charges are filed.
Thirty-two complaints on mere inclusion or exclusion of SAP beneficiaries without the involvement of local government officials were referred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development-7 for validation.
According to Trovela, this bold move of going after SAP complaints is a reaffirmation that the present administration is serious in going after corrupt local government officials. He assured the public that the government will not tolerate the corrupt activities of local officials especially in this time of pandemic.
The creation of DILG VII EOC legal team is guided by DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Ano’s directive mandating all DILG and Philippine National Police regional directors to receive, verify and act on complaints.
President Rodrigo Duterte had also instructed the DILG to investigate corrupt local officials involved in the distribution of financial assistance under SAP and file appropriate cases against them, subject to relevant laws, rules and regulations. He offered P30,000 incentive to any person who will provide information on any local government official pocketing or misusing cash funds intended for SAP beneficiaries should such information turn out to be legitimate and true upon validation.
The DILG VII EOC Legal Team is composed of DILG-7 Local Government Monitoring and Evaluation Division and concurrent DILG Cebu City Officer-in-Charge, Atty. Ian Kenneth B. Lucero as the team leader; Atty. Gerlyn Mae C. Sayson, Atty. Christian A. Fernandez, and Atty. Louthera Christie C. Rizon as members; and LGOO II Hana Rea O. Tamse and ADAC RTA Leslie Mae O. Cabrido as Secretariat.