Returning barangay captains in alleged SAP anomalies not yet off the hook — Año

Published June 13, 2021, 2:37 PM

by Chito Chavez

The cases against barangay officials allegedly involved in social amelioration program (SAP) anomalies are still being heard despite them having returned to work after serving their six-month preventive suspensions.

Secretary Eduardo Ano (DILG photo)

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año issued the clarification on Saturday night, June 12, when pressed if the barangay captains have been cleared of the charges after resuming their duties.

Last January 18, President Duterte announced the names of the 89 barangay captains allegedly involved in various cash aid distribution irregularities.

Duterte had emphasized detesting and abhorring corruption in his administration even at the expense of firing his close allies suspected to be involved in anomalies in the government service.

“They are back to work but the cases are still ongoing at the Ombudsman,’’ Año said.

The DILG chief also stressed that the concerned barangay captains received no salaries during the time of their preventive suspensions.

Año’s pronouncement came at the heels of the charges filed against the barangay officials over the “super spreader events’’ that occurred in their respective territories in the midst of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

On June 9, Año identified the concerned barangay officials as Barangay Captain Romeo Rivera, of Barangay 171 in Caloocan City; Barangay Captain Ernan Perez of Barangay San Jose in Navotas City; Barangay Captain Marcial Lucas Melodie L. Palad of Barangay Matiktik, Norzagaray Bulacan; Barangay Captain Facipico Jeronimo of Barangay 181 in Tondo, Manila; Barangay Chairman Jaime Laurente of Barangay 182 in Tondo, Manila; Kagawad Arnel Saenz of Barangay 182 in Tondo, Manila; Barangay Captain Jason Talipan of Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island; Barangay Captain Jimmy Solano of Barangay Sambiray in Malay, Aklan and Barangay Captain Jessica Ponteres Cadungog of Barangay Kampuchaw in Cebu.

Rivera was charged with an administrative complaint for gross neglect of duty or dereliction of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

This stemmed from the May 9 swimming pool party incident in Gubat sa Ciudad Resort which is under Rivera’s jurisdiction.

Rivera was issued a 60-day suspension order which was implemented on June 4, 2021.

A criminal complaint was filed by the Navotas Police Station against Perez for violation of Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code and dereliction of duty for the mass gathering violation that happened in the Recreational Resort and Swimming Pool in his barangay.

The case against Palad has been referred to the Bulacan Provincial Prosecutors’ Office in Malolos City for violation of Republic Act (RA) 1332, RA 3019, Anti-Graft, Corruption Practices Act and Executive Order No. 19 series of 2021.

Palad’s inclusion in the charged barangay officials stemmed from a mass gathering incident in Bakas River which is located in his barangay.

Jeronimo, Laurente and Saenz were charged with violation of RA 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Noticeable Diseases and Health Events of Concerns Act which is now pending before the Manila Prosecutors’ Office.

They were charged for the boxing event at Fernandez St. corner Pag-Asa St. in Barangays 181 and 182 in Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila.

Talipan and Solano were charged for violation of RA 11332-9 over the mass gathering incident in Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island and Barangay sambiray in Malay, Aklan.

Cadungog was charged for violation of Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code over the mass gathering incident in Club Hotel Bar and Restaurant and Mango square in her barangay.

Her case has been referred to the Prosecutors’ Office.