Manila village chief in hot water after daughter-in-law took cuts from cash aid for displaced workers

Dominic Almelor, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2020 01:05 AM | Updated as of Jun 05 2020 10:20 AM

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MANILA – A barangay chairman in Tondo, Manila is in hot water after his daughter-in-law was accused of taking cuts from the government’s cash subsidy for displaced workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rose, real name withheld on request, told ABS-CBN News she was informed by Barangay 153 that she qualified for the Department of Labor and Employment’s program called TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers.)

She stopped working in a boutique when the lockdown was imposed mid-March to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

Joe Anne Felisa Dionisio, who was overseeing distribution of the cash aid, told Rose she would only get P1,000 from the subsidy.

Joe Anne, the daughter-in-law of Barangay 153 Chairman Herman Dionisio, told Rose the rest of the funds would be used by the barangay.

Rose claimed the money at a remittance center, only to learn she was entitled to an aid worth P5,370.

“Ginamit nila ‘yung pangalan ko na wala akong kaalam-alam,” she said.

Rose then confronted Joe Anne and asked the latter to sign a document certifying that she only got P1,000 and the remaining amount went to the barangay.

She then went to the office of Manila 2nd District Rep. Rolando Valeriano, who was involved in the implementation of TUPAD program, to complain about the incident.

Later, Joe Ann and her husband promised to return the money to Rose but the couple reportedly failed to give it back.

“Ginagawa nilang tanga-tanga mga kabarangay ko doon na ginagawan nila nang hindi maganda,” Rose said.

ABS-CBN News sought comment from the barangay chairman, but it was Joe Anne who spoke on his behalf.

Joe Anne maintained there was nothing irregular on the cash distribution.

"’Yung P1,000 na 'yun legal naman po 'yun kasi in-explain ko naman po talaga na ibibigay do’n is P1,000 and the rest pondo po ng barangay,” she said.

From the 6 beneficiaries of DOLE’s TUPAD program, it was only Rose who had a gripe over having cuts.

“May mga tao pong magpapatunay na gano’n po talaga ang usapan. Bukod tangi lang po siya na hindi ang nakaintindi,” she added.

Joe Anne admitted collecting P26,000 from the program, which she said was used to buy goods for other residents.

She also said she was only following orders from Valeriano’s office.

“’Yun naman po talaga ang usapan, kasi ang sabi po ng nagbigay ng slot, depende kay chairman kung magkano ang ibibigay. So kami naman po nag-rely kami do’n kasi malaking bagay po sa barangay 'yung tulong ng TUPAD," she said.

However, Valeriano’s staff member Anabelle Paraiso denied Joe Anne's claim. She told ABS-CBN News that Valeriano did not instruct the 122 barangays covered by the program to take a cut from the subsidy.

"Wala pong instruction si Congressman na bawasan 'yun. Bahala po ang chairman kung kanino niya ibibigay, sa frontliner ba o sa tao ba. Basta po buo po dapat makuha ng tao ‘yun," Paraiso said.

Rose then filed a complaint before DILG against the barangay chairman, his son and daughter-in-law.

“Sa panahon ng pandemic, malaking bagay sa pamilya ko na makuha ko sana ‘yun ng buo,” she said.

Interior Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño was irked over the incident.

“Sabi nga ni Presidente, ‘wag niyong galawin ‘tong perang ‘to. Itong perang ito ay para sa mga kababayan natin na na-lockdown. Itong mga ito pinapakialaman pa nila,” he said.

Rose’s complaint has also already reached the office of Manila Barangay Bureau director Romeo Bagay.

"Hindi po pinapayagan ‘yung ganong sistema na bawasan mo ‘yung dapat na matatanggap ng beneficiary. Kung magkano po talaga ‘yung nakalagay na amount do’n sa DOLE Tupad, 'yun dapat ang makukuha ng beneficiary,” he said.

Bagay also questioned why the barangay chairman’s daughter-in-law was involved in implementing the program.

“Kung talagang makikita po na maling-mali ang ginawa ng chairman eh from there puwede na ho agad siyang ma-suspinde,” he said.

The Manila Barangay Bureau has already issued show cause orders to 50 barangay chairmans while 2 have been criminally charged over alleged anomalous distribution of relief goods and financial assistance.