134 barangay officials charged over SAP ‘anomalies’
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 134 barangay officials were charged before the Prosecutor’s Office of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for alleged anomalies in the distribution of cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday.
As of May 20, there were only 42 barangay officials charged by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for 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,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.
(You will not be able to evade the penalties for the violations you have committed in the distribution of cash aid. You betrayed the trust of the government and your constituents. Later on, you will end up in jails),”
He added that the PNP-CIDG would file nine more cases in the coming days and is fast-tracking the case build-up on 86 other cases.
Año said a total of 318 complainants reported before the PNP-CIDG the alleged anomalies involving barangay officials in the distribution of cash aid under the SAP.
According to Año, a barangay chairman, two barangay kagawads, and a Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson in Boac, Marinduque were charged due to their alleged illegal collection of P50 processing fee from each SAP beneficiary.
He said a similar incident was also reported in Binmaley, Pangasinan where the barangay captain and his cohort allegedly collected P1,000 from a complainant after receiving the SAP assistance.
In Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, some residents reported a barangay chairman for deducting P2,000 each from 132 SAP beneficiaries, according to the Interior Chief.
In another barangay in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, in Talisay City, and in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, barangay officials allegedly included the names of their relatives in the list of SAP beneficiaries although they were not qualified, leaving out the eligible recipients who had no means of income.
In Eastern Samar, a barangay captain also reported that the mayor of his town deprived all of the residents in his barangay of receiving SAP because he is not a political supporter of the mayor.
Meanwhile, DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya thanked the DOJ and the Prosecutor General 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 in 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.
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