89 barangay captains suspended over SAP
A six-month preventive suspension was earlier ordered by the Office of the Ombudsman following the filing of complaints against the barangay officials over irregularities in the distribution of the first SAP tranche covering the month of April.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, file
89 barangay captains suspended over SAP
Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) enforced the first mass suspension of some 89 barangay chairmen nationwide for alleged anomalies in the distribution of the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) for poor families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

A six-month preventive suspension was earlier ordered by the Office of the Ombudsman following the filing of complaints against the barangay officials over irregularities in the distribution of the first SAP tranche covering the month of April.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año directed the respective mayors of the concerned barangays to immediately implement the suspension order, which will serve as a stern warning that any corruption will not be tolerated.

There were 12 suspended barangay chiefs in Region 1, 11 in Metro Manila, 10 others in Region 2, nine in Regions 5 and 7 while eight officials were suspended in Region 6 and seven others in Region 8.

Various cases were earlier filed by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit following the instruction of the DILG.

Under the SAP, some 18 million households were set to get P5,000 to P8,000 in amelioration packages in the first tranche.

The ombudsman’s suspension order, dated Sept. 2, ordered the six-month suspension of the officials since their continued stay in office might prejudice the cases filed against them.

The order said that evidence presented in the complaint showed the strong guilt of the accused for the charges of Serious Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Abuse of Authority and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

These charges could warrant their eventual removal from service.

The DILG said it received numerous complaints that some officials are messing with the distribution of cash subsidies, including barangay chairmen prioritizing relatives and political allies in the distribution of the cash aid.

Some barangays are also reportedly asking for processing fees while others are dividing the intended cash aid to more families in their areas.

DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said this mass suspension is the latest development in the DILG’s drive to weed out corruption in the government’s emergency subsidy program.

Criminal charges have been filed against a total of 447 individuals for violations of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), RA 11469 (Bayanihan Act I) and RA 6713 (Code of Conduct of Government Officials and Employees), among other laws.

Of this number, 221 are elected local and barangay officials, 104 are appointed barangay officials and 132 are their civilian co-conspirators.

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