Hundreds of local officials face graft charges for SAP payout anomalies

Some 437 local elected and appointed public officials and their cohorts are now facing criminal charges while 626 others are under probe by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for alleged Social Amelioration Program (SAP) pay-out anomalies.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año noted the intense filing of charges for corrupt individuals involved in SAP 1 anomalies while the second phase of the cash aid distribution under SAP 2 is in progress.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año

“Sobrang nakakadismaya na nagawa pa nilang mangurakot sa ayudang nakalaan para sa sa ating mga kababayan na lubhang apektado ng pandemya (It is very frustrating that some groups had the gall to steal the aid intended for those severely affected by the pandemic),” said Año.
Of the 437 cases filed before the various Prosecutor’s Office of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Año said “203 were elected public officials, including a municipal mayor, city/municipal councilors, barangay captains, barangay kagawads, SK chairmen and SK councilors’’.
He added that 102 are barangay and city personnel, including barangay secretaries, barangay treasurers, barangay health workers, homeowner’s association officers, purok leaders, city/municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer, SAP enumerators and day care teachers while the 132 others were civilian co-conspirators.
Last week, the DILG filed complaints against 50 barangay officials from among those currently being investigated with a prayer for their immediate preventive suspension.
Año said that most of the cases filed were for violations of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; RA 11469 or Bayanihan Act; and RA 11332 or Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases, among others.
“Ang laban natin sa korapsiyon ay kasing-tindi ng laban natin sa COVID-19, mahirap sugpuin pero hindi tayo susuko hanggang maparusahan ang mga tiwali (Our fight against corruption is as intense as our battle with COVID-19. It is a very difficult but we will not give in until the violators are punished),” he added.
He cited the efforts of the Philippine National Police-CIDG for vigorously investigating 336 SAP related-cases across the country.
Of the 336 cases, Año said “240 were already filed with the Prosecutor’s Office, three are for case filing, six were endorsed to other agencies, 46 are under investigation or case build-up and 41 were dismissed for lack of probable cause or insufficient evidence’’.
“On a regional level, 50 cases were filed in Region XII, 40 cases in Region VI, 33 cases in Region VII, 30 cases in Region IV-A, 26 cases in Region VIII, 24 cases in Region XI, and 21 cases in National Capital Region,’’ Año stressed.
“There are also 16 cases in Region V, 14 cases in Region 4B; 15 cases in Region I, 14 cases in Region II, 12 cases in Region 10; 12 cases in CARAGA, 10 in Cordillera Administrative Region; and two in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),’’ he added.
The DILG chief cited that a huge part of the success in going after these public officials are the public themselves who bravely filed complaints with the nearest PNP stations.
Año is confident that “there will be lesser complaints on anomalies now that the second tranche of the SAP is distributed mostly through electronic means’’.