SIX barangay officials and workers in Pontevedra are charged with alleged anomalies over the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program.
Charged before the Provincial Prosecutors Office were Barangay Don Salvador Benedicto Chairman Willy Fernandez Palermo, Kagawad Edgar Bandon Berdan, barangay treasurer Jinky Pobresa, barangay health worker Virginia Zamora, barangay nutrition scholar Jonalyn Samulde and child development worker Mary Grace Eslabon.
Three complainants reported to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Negros Occidental Provincial Field Unit 6 (CIDG Negros Occidental PFU) alleging that the respondents connived and confederated with each other by manipulating the selection of qualified SAP beneficiaries and prioritizing their relatives and close affiliates to be included in the final list.
Based on the investigations of CIDG Negros Occidental PFU, some beneficiaries were not qualified and the poorest of the poor families were not able to claim the government cash aid.
The officials were charged for violations of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 11469, also known as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
A separate administrative case for violation of RA 6713 (Code of Ethical Standard of Public Official) will also be referred to the Office of the Ombudsman upon resumption of its services.
The filing of charges against the Pontevedra barangay officials brings to 128 the number of persons in Western Visayas facing such charges, as of July 8.
In a statement by the CIDG Regional Field Unit 6, The number of barangay officials and civilians charged for alleged SAP anomalies rose to 128 within a period of one week since July 1, with 114 complainants.
The Bacolod CFU topped the number of cases filed in court with 59 suspects charged, citing testimonies of 45 complainants.
Sixteen others have been charged by the Negros Occidental PFU.