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DILG orders arrest of local execs involved in SAP distribution anomalies

By Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday gave strict orders to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest corrupt officials who dupe the poor of the subsidy granted by the national government under the social amelioration program (SAP).

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a message aired on Monday, President Duterte castigated and cursed kagawad (village councilor) Danilo Flores of Barangay San Agustin in live telecast for allegedly pocketing P3,500 of the P6,000 cash grant for his barangay’s recipients who are reeling from the lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The President ordered the arrest of Flores for corruption.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año reiterated that it is unlawful to split the subsidy for one family to several families or deduct even a single centavo from the actual cash aid.

Flores claimed that he had a previous internal arrangement with the recipients that the deducted sum will be given to the other beneficiaries who were not included in the initial batch of SAP grantees.

However, Flores’ claim was denied by the poor beneficiaries of his barangay.

Año directed the PNP to immediately investigate reported SAP related anomalies.

“I am directing PNP units all over the country and also requesting the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to prioritize the investigation of graft and corruption cases against local officials on SAP distribution. Greedy and corrupt officials should have no place in the government. They are carriers of a malignant virus that destroys the trust the people gave to them,” Año said.

Cursing repeatedly at Flores, the President offered a P30,000 reward to any person who will give information that will lead to the arrest of these corrupt local officials.

Expressing disgust over the alleged incident, Año branded Flores’s act as “disgraceful and downright shameful” stressing that public officials should be the ones helping poor families especially during the present COVID-19 crisis.

“Nakakahiya! Ang SAP ay kinuha mula sa kaban ng bayan bilang ayuda sa mga salat sa buhay at walang kabuhayan sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis. Hindi ito dapat ibulsa ng sinumang opisyal ng lokal na gobyerno (It is very shameful. SAP was taken from the government’s coffers as grant to the poor and the jobless in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. This should not go to the pockets of any local official of the government),” he added.

Flores was caught on video telling SAP financial aid recipients that they would only get P3,000 of the cash aid and that the remaining P3,500 would be given to the town mayor for distribution to non-SAP beneficiaries.

However, Hagonoy Mayor Raulito Manlapaz denied Flores’ claims saying he was not involved in the incident.

The video went viral on social media which prompted DSWD personnel to seek police assistance.

Flores was arrested on Saturday night for violation of Sec. 3 (b) Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Bayanihan Act.

Año warned that similar incidents will not be tolerated and sanctions will be given to corrupt local officials.

He assured those accused of such anomalies that they will be given due process but emphasized that the law will be imposed especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

While the PNP and NBI are directed to investigate the criminal aspect, Año also directed the DILG’s regional directors to form their respective DILG Provincial Investigating Teams to look into and pursue administrative cases against corrupt local officials that may lead to their suspension and dismissal from public office.

These teams will be submitting to the DILG Central Office their regular reports of the actions they have taken.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/05/05/dilg-orders-arrest-of-local-execs-involved-in-sap-distribution-anomalies/)

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