19 more barangay officials face criminal cases over cash aid distribution

Rambo Talabong
19 more barangay officials face criminal cases over cash aid distribution
'Nalalapit na ang paghuhukom para sa mga tiwaling opisyales ng mga barangay,' says Interior Secretary Eduardo Año

MANILA, Philippines – Nineteen more barangay officials are facing criminal cases after allegedly committing anomalies in the distribution of the government’s emergency subsidy program (ESP) intended for millions of poor and disenfranchised Filipinos under lockdown.

In a statement on Thursday, May 21, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the government has now filed criminal complaints against a total of 42 village officials. It earlier announced it was suing 23 others.

Seryosohan po ito.  Nalalapit na ang paghuhukom para sa mga tiwaling opisyales ng mga barangay. Hindi po titigil ang ating kapulisan hanggat hindi mapapanagot sa batas ang mga kagaya nila,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said.

(We are serious here. The judgment hour for corrupt officials is coming. The police will not stop until they are punished by the law.)

The DILG monitored the use of the following schemes in these cases:

  1. Splitting – The barangay officials do not give out the required minimum P5,000 by asking residents to return money so other residents can also receive aid. It is unclear if the officials really gave the money to the other residents;
  2. Pocketing a portion of the aid money of themselves;
  3. Nepotism and favoritism.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed the cases, charging 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.

The filing of the cases, for the DILG, serves as a warning to other officials as the government moves to distribute the second batch of distribution of the ESP.

The first tranche has been marked by discrepancies in distribution, with many of the poorest and most vulnerable ending up empty-handed. – Rappler.com

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.