134 barangay officials face criminal complaints over cash aid anomalies

Rambo Talabong
134 barangay officials face criminal complaints over cash aid anomalies
Anomalies committed by the barangay officials include splitting of amounts, falsification of the list, getting a cut or 'tara' from beneficiaries, among others

MANILA, Philippines – More barangay officials are reported to have committed anomalies in the distribution of cash aid from the national government during the coronavirus lockdown.

As of Monday, May 25, the Philippine National Police (PNP) had filed criminal complaints against a total of 134 barangay officials, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

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

The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) accuses 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 rise in cases comes despite the DILG’s repeated warnings that officials who do not properly distribute cash aid would be punished.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año expressed dismay in his statement on Monday: Hindi ninyo matatakasan ang mga panlolokong ginawa ninyo sa pamimigay ng ayuda. Sinira ninyo ang tiwala ng gobyerno at ng inyong mga kabarangay, kaya sa kalaunan, sa kulungan ang bagsak ninyo.”

(You will not escape punishment for the corruption you committed in distributing aid. You ruined the trust of the government and of the residents of your barangays. Sooner or later, you will land in jail.)

The first wave of the cash aid distribution program was plagued by discrepancies, with many of the poorest and most vulnerable getting neglected.

The department added that they are preparing more cases as they continue to receive reports of corruption. – 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.