By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on May 27, Wednesday, assured that it will continue to relentlessly pursue investigations to put corrupt barangay officials behind bars until not a single one of their kind are left.
In a press briefing, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said this is to ensure that no more irregularities will be committed with the distribution of the second tranche of the cash aid under the social amelioration program (SAP) to the qualified beneficiaries.
He added the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) which handles the corruption complaints against the barangay officials is up on its toes in conducting case build-ups. This is in a bid to gather air-tight evidence for the charges to prosper in court. Malaya cited Justice Department Secretary Menardo Jimenez for asking the prosecutor’s office to prioritize the preliminary investigation of the corruption charges filed against the barangay officials to elevate the cases before the courts.
At present, Malaya said that 134 barangay officials are facing criminal charges before the prosecutor’s office in the country on top of the 100 complaints which the CIDG is currently investigating. Malaya earlier warned that all parties, whether barangay officials or private individuals, involved in unscrupulous and deceitful cash distribution anomalies under SAP will be charged accordingly.
He insisted that unqualified SAP cash aid recipients are still liable for unlawfully receiving the financial assistance at the expense of the poorest among the poor. “Return of the aid will not extinguish their criminal liability,’’ Malaya said.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region (NCR) has extensively acted on the numerous SAP-related complaints against rogue barangay officials. In many of their probes and case build-ups, the undeserving financial grantees pointed to the barangay officials who included them in the first tranche roster.
Barangay personnel who are receiving the same compensation as the barangay kagawad (village councilors) even had the gall to insist that they deserve the cash aid since they are among the frontliners. Other arrogant barangay officials who were subjected to the SAP complaints dismissed the grievance insisting the case will go nowhere.