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Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista thanked on Tuesday officials of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for identifying barangay officials involved in social amelioration program (SAP) anomalies.

During a virtual conference, Bautista lauded CIDG and DILG’s work that resulted in the recent suspension of 89 barangay captains who were found to have meddled with the SAP fund for their personal benefit.

“Lubos ang pasasalamat ng DSWD sa CIDG, DILG, PNP sa pagtulong sa ating ahensya upang masugpo ang mga maling gawain at maparusahan ang mga lumalabag sa mga umiiral na batas (The DSWD is deeply thankful to CIDG, DILG, and PNP for their help to bust the wrongdoings [of these officials] and to punish those who continue to defy the law),” he said.

On September 2, the Office of the Ombudsman said “the evidence on record shows that the guilt of these punong barangays is strong and the charges against them involve serious dishonesty, grave misconduct, abuse of authority, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service which may warrant removal from the service.”

It said letting these punong barangays in office may prejudice the case filed against them, “(so) placing them under preventive suspension for a period of six months pursuant to Republic Act No. 6770 is proper under the premises”.

“Nakakalungkot na mayroong mga nakasuhan dahil sa katiwalian sa implementasyon ng SAP ngunit hindi kinatigan ng ahensya ang anumang maling gawain lalo pa kung ito ay salungat sa isinusulong ng ahensya para sa mahihirap at nangangailangan (It is sad that there are officials who corrupted the SAP fund but the agency will never condone this type of behavior especially that they are opposite to our visions for the poor and needy),” Bautista added.

Meanwhile, he also cited the responsibility of mayors and governors to supervise and make sure that there are no irregularities happening.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, on the other hand, announced that the suspension of the 89 barangay captains will only be one of the many moves by the DILG in its efforts to combat corruption among public officials.

The PNP-CIDG has filed criminal cases against 447 persons for violating Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), RA 11469 (Bayanihan Act 1), and RA 6713 (Code of Conduct of Government Officials and Employees), among others, in relation to the SAP.

Of this figure, 211 are elected local and barangay officials, 104 are appointed barangay officials, and 132 are their civilian co-conspirators.

The cases are now handled by their respective city and provincial prosecutors. (PNA)

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