Corruption is another pandemic

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Critics will always be critics, they say, but some quarters believe when there’s smoke there’s fire.

There is no need to argue about it, the record of cases filed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) against more than 200 local officials before the office of the Ombudsman, spells how corrupt officials siphoned the money  intended for poor and marginalized members of the society.

When the government announced that it would release funds through the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Social Amelioration,  for the low-income families to help them wade through the economic crisis brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, people rejoiced at least the government cares for them, and their taxes are given back to them —at least.

Many traveled to secure long lost birth certificate, marriage contracts as it is required among the documents for the release of the fund.

When one sees their purok leader roaming the village, they see the hope of getting listed, their hope turned grim as corrupt leaders but as it turned out many deserving families were deprived, worse, duped, by their own leaders.

Instead of listing the rightful beneficiaries, the corrupt leaders listed their own families, relatives, and allies.

Not only that, but there are also those who manipulate the list, and eliminate the circles of their political opponents.

This happened not only in one region but in many regions, all over the country.

A family should at least receive P6,000. But Sill corrupt officials get their cut, slashing the money by P1,500 for their own pocket.

The beneficiaries were not in a position to complain, because these officials have influence and they fear reprisal.

Thanks to the social media, aggrieved beneficiaries shout their heart out and it was then that the DILG was alarmed.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte called for an investigation about the fund, even ordered, the public display of SAP beneficiaries for people to know who gets what in their respective barangays.

True enough, the anomaly was uncovered, the DILG investigated 357 cases involving 416 barangay officials and 93 cases were submitted before the office of the Ombudsman.

While 259 are facing criminal charges before the prosecutors office.

As it is now, the Ombudsman issued a preventive suspension for six months against 89 barangay captains.

The filing of criminal charges is a product of an intensive investigation and it comes with evidence.

No amount of alibis can discredit the fact, that poor families with cheated-duped and corrupted in this trying time, that the people whom they voted are the same people who cheated them.

Sad enough, the filing of criminal and administrative charges against these suckers is proof that corruption during the pandemic is also a pandemic.

Be informed