By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday reminded the barangay officials that the cash aid under the social amelioration program (SAP) should benefit the “poorest of the poor’’ among their constituents.
This caution was stressed anew as the complaints about various SAP-related anomalies have flooded the DILG and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
With an estimated 2,000 complaints, DILG undersecretary for barangay affairs Martin Diño said the CIDG will now handle SAP-related complaints against barangay officials where they are now mandated to conduct case build-ups on these alleged corrupt practices.
He noted that the DILG will take care of complaints related to violations of “social distancing or enforcement of the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine).’’
Diño noted that the CIDG has already filed 42 cases against the erring barangay officials while the DILG has issued 140 show-cause orders to them.
Explaining further, Diño said that his office will have to gather relevant pieces of evidence to establish air-tight cases against the said barangay officials after which charges will be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Concurring with Diño’s pronouncement, DILG undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya warned “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’.’
Citing as examples, Malaya noted that barangay chairman Leonardo “Leo” Recto is now facing criminal charges for allegedly singlehandedly identifying the beneficiaries who are his close friends and relatives and denying the said financial aid to qualified barangay residents.
He added that 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.
Malaya insisted that being a supporter or a relative of the barangay officials should not be the basis in choosing the SAP beneficiaries.
“Ang SAP ay para sa mga tunay na nangangailangan, hindi sa mga katropa (SAP is for the poorest households and not for ones allies),” Malaya emphasized.
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.
He noted that the majority of these suspects are barangay chairpersons and their associates.
There were also numerous complaints received against barangay councilors, barangay secretary or treasurer, municipal councilor, barangay health workers (BHW), Purok leaders/homeowners association (HOA) presidents, liaison officers, DSWD social workers, SK chairmen, and day care teachers.
“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,’’ the DILG statement read..
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.
The DILG emphasized that these measures are being strictly enforced with the President repeatedly asserting that he has zero tolerance for corruption.