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Scam alert: DILG warns against barangay appointments for a fee

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno warned the public against a reported scam, where unscrupulous individuals are selling appointments to barangay (village) positions. 

The attempts to sell appoinments as officer-in-charge to replace seated barangay officials apparently surfaced after a law was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte to postpone to October 2017 the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections originally scheduled in October this year.

That law – Republic Act 10923 signed on October 15 – provides that barangay and SK officials whose terms ended in October will be serving in holdover capacities until the elections in 2017 – unless they are facing cases. (READ: 5 things we serve barangay officials on a silver platter)

“We will not appoint OIC barangay officials. And as I have said before, unless there is a pending case against a barangay chairman from a specific place, he has nothing to worry about. But unless and until that is the scenario, the incumbent chairman, prior to the cancellation of barangay election last month, will continue serving his or her post in a hold-over capacity,” Sueno said in a statement released on Sunday, November 6.

He also denied allegations that the DILG is "collecting" money for project contracts, such as the purchase of firefighting equipment and the construction of municipal buildings.

"We are not selling ‘appointments’ of any official in the local government level, whether for a barangay chairman post or sangguniang barangay membership. There is no way that the DILG will collect fees in exchange for any projects," the DILG secretary said.

Sueno's warning came as registration for the village and SK polls resumed on Monday, November 7. 

Charges await extortionists

Sueno had supported the postponement of the barangay polls to aid Duterte's ongoing "war on drugs." (READ: DILG: Postpone barangay elections, focus on war on drugs)

"This administration has been advocating change, and that change is for the betterment of greater number of Filipinos, not maintaining kung ano ang naging kalakaran (the status quo)," he said.

He said apprehended extortionists will face charges and be put to jail.

"I have given our intelligence operatives the go-signal to round up these extortionists. We know their location, but we still need the support of the public to stand as witnesses against these people," he added.

Earlier in October, the DILG warned the public about a certain organization called the National Interfaith Council of the Philippines or Nicophil that allegedly used the name of the department to encourage individuals to submit their resumés as aspiring barangay captains.

Sueno has since denied that the DILG authorizes any organization, including Nicophil, to recommend or endorse individuals as OICs. – Rappler.com