The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday to take immediate action and investigate reported corruption in SAP (social amelioration program) by anyone in the government offices. This was due to the alleged illegal acts of Barangay Kagawad Danilo Flores, aged 66, of Barangay San Agustin in Hagonoy, Bulacan. Flores was caught pocketing more than half of the SAP cash aid intended for his poor constituents.
In the PNA report, it was stated:
“Flores was caught on video telling SAP financial aid recipients that they would only get PHP3,000 of the cash aid and that the remaining PHP3,500 would be given to the town mayor for distribution to non-SAP beneficiaries.”
Later, Hagonoy Mayor Raulito Manlapaz denied Flores’ claims and denied any involvement. The video went viral on social media and has led to the arrest of Flores on Saturday, May 2, for violation of Sec. 3 (b) Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and for violation of the Bayanihan Act.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista on Tuesday urged the public to report officials involved in this kind of corruption related to SAP distribution following President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that the government would provide PHP30,000 cash reward to any person who will report local officials involved in this fraud.
“We are coordinating with the DILG against local government officials who will be found guilty. The agency has the authority to discipline and file charges against erring public servants”. Bautista said.
Meanwhile, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año also said:
“I am directing PNP units all over the country and also requesting the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to prioritize the investigation of graft and corruption cases against local officials on SAP distribution. Greedy and corrupt officials should have no place in the government. They are carriers of a malignant virus that destroys the trust the people gave to them.”
Bautista assured that complaints related to SAP will be managed and monitored by the DSWD Central Office-Operations Center through its 24/7 hotline number 16545. The office is required to immediately respond to reports within 24 hours from receipt with “proper referencing and reporting to concerned offices for validation and/or investigation”.
Meanwhile, Malacañang on Tuesday guaranteed protection for people who will report government officials committing crimes of corruption related to the distribution of SAP cash assistance. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured the public that the government would protect those individuals with adequate evidence against corrupt public officials and that they “might” be placed under the government’s Witness Protection Program.
“If need be, you will be placed under the government’s Witness Protection Program, if the erring government officials need to face charges” uttered Roque while also explaining that “criminal complaints against corrupt local officials could be lodged before the office of either the Philippine National Police or the National Bureau of Investigation, while administrative complaints could be issued before the regional office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)”.