MANILA - A total of 437 local officials and their civilian conspirators face criminal complaints due to alleged anomalous distribution of COVID-19 cash aid, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Sunday.
Of this number, 203 were elected officials including a mayor, councilors, and village officials; 102 are city and barangay personnel and other local officials; and 132 are civilian co-conspirators.
They face cases for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Bayanihan Act, and the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases, among others, the DILG said.
The highest number of cases filed was in Region 12 with 50, followed by 40 cases in Western Visayas, and 33 in Central Visayas.
The PNP investigated 336 cases, of which 240 were already filed with the Prosecutors Office, 3 are for case filing, 6 were endorsed to other agencies, 46 are under case build-up, and 41 were dismissed for lack of probable cause or insufficient evidence.
"Sobrang nakakadismaya na nagawa pa nilang mangurakot sa ayudang nakalaan para sa sa ating mga kababayan na lubhang apektado ng pandemya," Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.
(It's dismaying that they had the capacity to corrupt the assistance allocated for our countrymen severely-hit by the pandemic.)
“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."
(As the distribution of the second tranche goes on, we will continue to file cases against these erring officials and their conspirators.)
The DILG said 626 more are still being probed for alleged anomalies in the pay-out of SAP funds.
The government launched the SAP as most parts of the country were placed on community quarantine, restricting their movements and affecting their livelihood, to curb the spread of COVID-19. Intended beneficiaries were allotted P5,000 to P8,000, depending on the wage level in their regions.
The Philippines logged its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.
The country's lockdowns began in mid-March.
As of Saturday, Aug. 22, the country's coronavirus caseload has swelled to nearly 188,000, of which, almost 70,000 are active infections.