Cohorts of suspended barangay captains being investigated

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday said that 447 individuals were identified as the cohorts of the 89 barangay captains who were issued with six-month suspension orders by the Office of the Ombudsman for their alleged involvement in the social amelioration program (SAP) anomalies.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

These individuals include 211 elected local and barangay officials; 104 appointed barangay personnel like barangay tanod (village security officers), barangay health workers, barangay secretary, barangay treasurer and 132 civilian cohorts.

Their cases filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) are now being heard by the various city and provincial prosecutors’ offices in the country.

Some of the prosecutors have also filed the information with the regional trial courts.

In the Laging Handa press briefing, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the “co-conspirators’’of the barangay captains were charged for violation of Republic Act 3019, Republic Act 11469 and Republic Act 6713.

To explain further, Malaya said the said individuals were being charged for alleged violation of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Bayanihan Act and Code of Conduct of Government officials and Employees.

Malaya noted that the Office of the Ombudsman issued the six-month suspension order to the 89 barangay captains for SAP related violations like splitting of the cash aid to more than one family, providing financial assistance to bogus recipients and getting cuts from the national government’s monetary support.

He clarified that the PNP-CIDG filed criminal cases against the “co-conspirators’’, among them the barangay secretary, barangay treasurer, and social worker of the city or municipal government of the 89 barangay captains.

With regards to the rule of succession, Malaya disclosed that under normal circumstances the first kagawad (village councilman) will assume the post of the suspended barangay captain.

He noted that the Office of the Ombudsman will compel the concerned local government unit (LGU) to enforce the order since the barangays are under their jurisdiction.

Malaya pointed out that the DILG will ensure the continued “smooth’’ function of the barangays with no service gaps as soon as the kagawad receives the order from the LGU and has taken his oath of office.

The DILG spokesman also stressed that the Office of the Ombudsman issued the preventive suspension orders that removed the concerned barangay captains from their posts to ensure that they would not unduly influence the flow of the investigation.

Malaya noted that “technically’’ the preventive suspension is not a penalty nor a finding of guilt against a concerned party but was imposed to prevent them from influencing the conduct of the probe relative to the charges they are facing.