Over 400 local officials, ‘co-conspirators’ face criminal complaints over COVID-19 cash aid anomalies — DILG

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23)— Hundreds of local officials and their “co-conspirators” have been slapped with criminal complaints over alleged anomalies in the distribution of the government’s COVID-19 cash aid program, the Interior Department said Sunday.

In a statement, DILG said 437 elected and appointed local public officials are now facing cases before the various Prosecutor’s Office of the Department of Justice. Six-hundred twenty six more remain under probe by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group for supposed irregularities in the payouts of the social amelioration program.

Out of the 437 individuals facing complaints, 203 are elected public officials— including mayors, councilors, barangay captains, and Sangguniang Kabataan chairmen and councilors.

A total of 102, on the other hand, are barangay and city personnel, which include local secretaries and treasurers, among others. The remaining 132 are “civilian co-conspirators,” the department said.

Majority of the cases filed were in relation to violations of Republic Act No. 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, and the Republic Act No. 11332 or Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases, the agency added.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, for his part, vowed officials will continue to monitor possible irregularities in the distribution of the coronavirus cash aid.

Habang patuloy ang pangalawang yugto ng pamimigay ng SAP, puspusan naman ang ating pagsasampa ng kaso laban sa mga tiwaling mga opisyal at ng kanilang mga kasabwat,” the DILG chief said.

[Translation: While we continue with the second tranche of SAP distribution, we’ll make sure to file cases against erring officials and their conspirators.]

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act— signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in March— the government was authorized to provide an emergency subsidy of ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 each to millions of low-income households affected by the health crisis.