MANILA - Dozens of barangay officials have been suspended over irregularities in the implementation of the government cash aid to poor families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Interior department said Saturday.
At least 89 Punong Barangays have been placed on a 6-month preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.
“Ang katiwalian ay walang puwang sa ating pamahalaan lalong-lalo pa ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.
(May the suspension serve as a warning to other local officials. Corruption has no place in our government especially in this time of pandemic.)
The Office of the Ombudsman acted on the complaints filed by the DILG against erring barangay officials.
In an Order dated September 2, 2020, the Office of the Ombudsman said that “the evidence on record shows that the guilt of these punong barangays is strong and the charges against them involve Serious Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Abuse of Authority and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service which may warrant removal from the service.”
Año said Region I, National Capital Region, and Region II top the list of suspended Punong Barangays, while Cordillera Administrative Region and Caraga has the least number of suspended PBs.
The DILG likewise urged local government units of these punong barangays to immediately implement the suspension order.
Criminal cases were also filed against 447 individuals for violating Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), RA 11469 (Bayanihan Act I), and RA 6713 (Code of Conduct of Government Officials and Employees), among others, again in relation to the implementation of the Social Amelioration.
Of the 447 suspects, 211 are elected local and barangay officials, 104 are appointed barangay officials and 132 are their civilian co-conspirators.
The cases are now being handled by the different City and Provincial Prosecutors across the country, DILG said.