397 barangay officials facing criminal charges for anomalous SAP distribution; a total of 663 under investigation

With the distribution of the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) set to begin soon, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said 397 barangay and local government officials are now facing criminal charges for alleged anomalies in the distribution of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program before the various Prosecutor’s Office of the Department of Justice.

“A total of 663 individuals have been subjected to investigation by the PNP-CIDG, 267 of these are elected barangay officials and some are local government officials. The rest, 396, are other government employees or civilian accomplices of those elected local officials. Of the total 663 individuals, so far, we have filed criminal cases against 397 of them,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

He said that more cases are expected to be filed against corrupt barangay officials in the next few days as the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) is now conducting case build-up and investigation on 67 cases.

Five more cases will also be filed within the week since the investigation has been completed.

“Corruption is like COVID 19. It is a disease that needs to be stamped out before it infects more people. And so long as it’s there, the DILG and the PNP will not stop until we have charged each and every individual involved in anomalous SAP transactions,” said Año.

“Ang korapsyon ay isang krimen laban sa mahihirap nating kababayan. As we continue to fight COVID-19, the DILG assures the public that those suspected of alleged anomalies will face the law for violating public trust and for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Bayanihan Law, and Law on Reporting of Communicable Disease,” he said.

“Marami pang kasunod ito. Ang datos na ito ay mula April 1 hanggang June 16 pa lamang kaya doon sa mga gumawa ng kalokohan noong unang pamimigay ng SAP, sinasabi ko sa inyo na hindi kayo makakalusot,” he said.

Año assured the 460 complainants who reported the anomalies to the PNP that the DILG will pursue those cases with the help of the DOJ.

He also lauded them for filing a formal complaint against their elected officials for alleged anomalous SAP distribution.

Optimism on 2nd tranche Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said that the Department is optimistic that there would be fewer complaints received with the upcoming 2nd tranche of SAP distribution to at least 12 million families in areas entitled to the 2nd tranche because the DSWD will start utilizing electronic payment systems in some areas.

He said that they are appalled by reports from the ground of public officials openly and forcibly taking part of the cash subsidy.

He cited a case in Bacolod City where complainant Flora May M. Ramas reported to the PNP Bacolod that on April 22, 2020, Barangay Felis Chairperson Ramon Jardin and three other barangay personnel allegedly collected and took back the amount of P4,000 from complainant after she received the amount of P6,000 SAP subsidy for no apparent legal reason.

The PNP CIDG-Bacolod has already filed charges against them before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

“Paalala lang po sa ating mga lokal na opisyal lalo na iyong mga inihalal ng taumbayan, ‘wag ninyo pong ipagpalit ang tiwala ng publiko sa inyo sa kahit anumang halaga. Public trust is priceless. Let’s remain true to our oath as public servants,” Malaya said.