President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday renewed his warning to local officials against taking advantage of the national government’s emergency cash aid for the poor.
In a pre-recorded address, Duterte read out the names of 89 barangay captains who were “preventively suspended” for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman because of anomalies in the distribution of the government’s social amelioration program funds.
He urged the Ombudsman to dismiss those officials from the service if proven guilty.
“At the end of the investigation, if you are good, then you are exonerated. But if you are guilty, I am most respectfully requesting the Ombudsman to dismiss them from the service,” Duterte said.
He said the misuse of public funds was a “very serious” offense.
“I warned you from the very beginning, do not f*** with this. During the time of Covid when the government is distributing money to the poor. especially in the barangay level don’t do it,” he said.
If proven guilty, he said, dishonest officials would no longer be allowed to run for public office.
“You know what hurts? When they are finally dismissed, the dismissal will always be accompanied by a statement that you are no longer eligible for public office. That’s what hurts. You can’t run for office even as a water boy in your barangay,” he said.
Duterte, in his past speeches, urged the public to report local officials stealing emergency subsidies for poor families.
In May 2020, he said a cash reward would be given to any person who would give information leading to the arrest of local officials involved in the corruption of funds intended for SAP recipients.
Billions of pesos were allocated to fund the SAP, which granted a PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 monthly cash aid to about 18 million low-income Filipino families affected by the pandemic.
The cash aid program was said to be the “largest financial aid package ever granted to Filipino households.”