23 barangay officials face criminal charges over cash aid distribution

Rambo Talabong
23 barangay officials face criminal charges over cash aid distribution
Barangay officials are accused of falsifying the list of beneficiaries and getting a cut or 'tara' from the emergency subsidy program

MANILA, Philippines – Some 23 barangay officials are now facing criminal complaints over alleged anomalies in the distribution of cash under the government’s emergency subsidy program (ESP), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Monday, May 18.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the DILG has already filed 12 criminal cases covering the 23 officials. (READ: Forgotten priority: PWDs still waiting for cash aid from Duterte gov’t)

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed the cases, accusing the officials of violating Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, and Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. 

Four more cases will be filed in the coming days, Año said, and some 110 other officials are already being investigated  after the DILG received complaints of corruption in the multibillion-peso cash distribution program intended for the most vulnerable under the coronavirus lockdown.

According to Año, the filing of the cases serve as a warning to other officials as the government moves to distribute the second tranche of aid for millions of poor and disenfranchised Filipinos.

The first wave has been marked by discrepancies in distribution, with many of the poorest and most vulnerable getting neglected.

The DILG said the anomalies committed by the barangay officials ranged from splitting, falsification of the list, getting a cut or “tara” from beneficiaries, among others. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.