A TOTAL of 39 barangay officials in Western Visayas are facing charges over allegations of anomalous distribution of cash aid under the government's social amelioration program (SAP).
Police Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Gorero, Police Regional Office (PRO)-Western Visayas acting spokesperson, said their records showed that 11 barangay chairpersons, eight barangay councilors, eight barangay secretaries, five barangay health workers, three civilians, two liaison officers, a social welfare officer and a purok leader have been arrested.
Gorero said the officials face charges for violation of provisions of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, and RA 6713, which establishes public officials' code of conduct and ethical standards.
After launching a SAP hotline number, authorities noticed an increase in the number of complaints linked to Covid-19 cash aid, he said.
The data is based on the record of the regional police from May 6 to May 29.
On Friday, the CIDG reported the arrest of Evelyn Yerro, MSWDO of Malinao, Aklan, who allegedly included disqualified beneficiaries in the SAP list.
Yerro was reported by four village chiefs for the anomaly, the police report said.
Chief Master Sergeant Ramiro Gocotano, CIDG-Bacolod City office head, said among the charges were based on the complaints filed by those who were disqualified from the program who claimed that their monthly income had been altered.
He said that of the earlier list of 10 barangays in Bacolod City, only the cases against the two village chiefs have been formally charged before the City Prosecutors Office.
"The other cases have been referred back to the DSSD while the other complainants expressed lack of interest in pursuing the case," Gocotano said.
Earlier, the CIDG offices in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental filed charges against barangay officials in Talisay, Himamaylan and Bacolod cities for allegedly distributing SAP assistance to their relatives and to unqualified beneficiaries.