The Manila City government on Wednesday issued show cause orders against barangay officials over alleged irregularities in the distribution of relief assistance and allowances amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Acting Manila City Administrator Lacson Marlon Lacson ordered the barangay officials to explain within 72 hours why they should not be charged for violations of the “Bayanihan: We Heal As One Act” and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
As of Wednesday, May 6, Manila Barangay Bureau Director Romeo Bagay said that the show cause orders have already been served to the 46 allegedly erring barangay officials.
The allegations hurled against the barangay officials include complaints from residents that they were only given P500 cash aid instead of the P1,000 allocated by the city government per family.
One barangay official was also accused of having residents sign acknowledgement receipts for the P1,000 financial assistance when the cash aid was never actually turned over to the recipient.
Under the City Amelioration Crisis Assistance Fund of the Manila City government, each family living in the nation’s capital must receive P1,000 cash assistance.
The financial assistance was turned over by the city government to the barangays for proper distribution.
Likewise, the allegations also include complaints from senior citizens that they were deprived of milk food supplement assistance from the city government.
Constituents of these barangay officials also hurled allegations of unfair distribution of relief packs as well as abuse in the issuance of quarantine passes.
Some residents accused the barangay officials of reducing the contents of the food packs provided by the city government.
“In view thereof, you are hereby directed to explain in writing and under oath, within seventy-two hours from receipt hereof, your alleged participation in the aforementioned complained acts and why no case, administrative or criminal should be filed against you for violations of RA 11469 otherwise known as the Bayanihan We Heal As One Act, RA 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and relevant City Ordinances,” the show cause orders issued by Lacson read.
“Your failure to submit your explanation within the specified period shall be considered a waiver of your right to submit the same and the preliminary investigation relating to this matter may proceed to determine the existence of a prima facie case against you,” the orders stated.
Meanwhile, Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko” Domagoso has urged the public to report the names of incumbent barangay officials who have been doing malpractices during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Domagoso said on his Facebook live on Monday, May 4, that if these barangay officials could take advantage of the crisis, “what more could they do when things go back to normal?”
"Sana mga kababayan, huwag kayong lilimot na pagbayarin sila sa mata ng batas. Darating uli sila sa inyo pagdating ng araw, mamimigay yan ng 5 kilong bigas o limang daang piso para sa kanilang halalan. Sana huwag niyong kalimutan ang dinanas ninyo, ang dinanas nating hirap ngayong COVID-19," the Mayor said.
"Huwag na huwag niyo nang palulusutin 'yang mga 'yan. Kung kaya nilang gawin yan na abusuhin kayo sa oras ng inyong kagipitan, kahirapan, ano pa kaya sa regular na araw?" he added.
Domagoso issued the call after receiving several reports that some barangay officials have been allegedly getting a portion of the relief packs provided by the city government for the public.
Families living in the City of Manila are expected to receive three kilos of rice, two cans of sardines, one spaghetti pasta, and one spaghetti sauce in their food boxes.
However, according to the reports received by the Mayor, some families received less than what was provided.
Some only received two kilos of rice, some did not receive a spaghetti sauce, while some did not receive any canned sardines, the Mayor said.
He assured the public that the government will not tolerate these malpractices, stressing that some barangay officials will soon be facing charges.
"These are the things na hindi niyo maitatago sa tao kasi pagod po ang tao ngayon, hirap na hirap po ang tao kaya sana maging takdang aral ito sa lahat ng barangay officials. Ngayon tayo kailangan ng tao. Ang tanging puhunan natin ay puyat at pagod," Domagoso said.
"Ang inyong Pamahalaang Lungsod naman, kahit sa maliit na kapamaraanan ay kahit papano, may naibibigay na pang-harimunan. 'Wag na natin pag interesan yung hindi atin," he added.