By Jeffrey Damicog
Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento has ordered prosecutors nationwide to prioritize the preliminary investigation of cases against barangay officials allegedly involved in the anomalous distribution of the government’s special amelioration program (SAP).
“I instructed all heads of office all over the country to set these for preliminary investigations ASAP (as soon as possible), to monitor progress and report to us,” Malcontento told reporters on Wednesday, May 8.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra stressed the importance for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prioritize the cases because “these cases take on a sinister and disgraceful character, considering that money intended for poor hungry people is unlawfully taken away from them.”
Last week, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has already filed 12 criminal cases against 23 barangay officials before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The charges were filed following investigation conducted by the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
Aside from these, he said the PNP is currently conducting a case build-up against 110 barangay officials after 318 complaints of graft and corrupt practices were filed.
The DILG chief noted that most of the cases involved anomalies committed by punong barangays, barangay kagawads, barangay treasurers, barangay secretaries, barangay employees, purok leaders, and even social workers.