MANILA – Around 50 barangay (village) chairpersons may face suspension over alleged anomalies in the distribution of the social amelioration program (SAP).
In a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte late Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the Office of the Ombudsman will issue preventive suspension orders against barangay chairmen for alleged malversation, corruption, estafa, and graft.
He said the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has filed 155 criminal complaints about SAP anomalies.
“Ako ay nakipag-ugnayan kay Ombudsman [Samuel] Martires at ang kanyang opisina at nai-submit na namin itong mga kaso na ‘to, at within the week po ay inaasahan namin na initially ay limampung (50) barangay captain ang magkakaroon ng preventive suspension habang iniimbestigahan po ng Ombudsman ang administrative aspect ng kanilang mga kaso (I am now coordinating with Ombudsman Martires to submit the cases and within the week we expect a preventive suspension order to be released against 50 barangay captain while the Ombudsman will conduct a probe on the administrative aspect of their cases),” Año told President Duterte.
Based on their initial investigation, Año said those who may be suspended include 26 barangay chairpersons in NCR and Region 1 (Ilocos Region); 11 in Region 4-A (Calabarzon); 10 in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley); and three in Region 3 (Central Luzon).
“Ito po ‘yung initial at ang mga iba pa ay isusunod lang po sa patuloy na pag-iimbestiga ng ating Ombudsman (This is just an initial list and there are others to follow in the course of the investigation of the Ombudsman),” he stressed.
The cases filed are in violation of the Republic Act 3019 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, RA 6713 Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards, and the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, among others while cases of robbery extortions and grave threats have been filed against some of the officials.
Duterte, meanwhile, thanked Año for filing criminal complaints against local government officials accused of misusing cash aid from the government’s social amelioration program.
“I’d like to thank Secretary Año, for his work in going after corrupt officials,” he said. “Maligaya ako sa trabaho ni Secretary Año (I am happy with Secretary Año’s work).” Christopher Lloyd Caliwan /PNA – northboundasia.com