Village chief, 4 others charged for SAP distribution ‘anomaly’

By Felipe V Celino


ROXAS CITY, Capiz – A village chief and four others were formally charged over alleged irregularities in the distribution of Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the government.

Criminal and administrative charges were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas against barangay chairman Nicasio Ralph “Bobot” Munoz of Brgy. Sta. Cruz Ivisan, Capiz, barangay kagawad Norma Arnaez, barangay health worker (BHW) Rodalyn Cepeda, SK chairman Rolin Opina and Day Care worker Fortunata Abalayan.

The complainants were Marlyn Geguira, Micheal Olithao, Dolores Soberano, Jocelyn Saludares, Merly Dolor and Carmelita Osita, all residents of Brgy. Sta. Cruz and SAP beneficiaries.

In their 18-page joint complaint-affidavit dated July 21, 2020, the complainants said that two days before the actual distribution of SAP on April 28, 2020, representatives of the village chief, composed of Arnaez and Cepeda, went around the barangay to inform them that the barangay chairman will ask for P1,000 from the P6,000 financial assistance.

The P1,000 that will be pooled from the recipients will be given to those not in the official list of beneficiaries.

In the morning of April 28, 2020, the complainants along with other beneficiaries, went to the barangay hall to receive their respective financial assistance.

The beneficiaries were instructed to proceed to the barangay hall office after receiving the cash assistance. They were approached by Opina who instructed them to proceed to the office of Munoz where Abalayan was waiting. The barangay chairman was also present.

The complainants said that the taking of P1,000 from each of them was against their will and desire because the financial assistance is a government dole-out under the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020” for the poorest of the poor Filipino who were suffering financially and were deprived of a source of livelihood because of the lockdown and quarantine policies imposed by the government due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We complained and objected to this modus, but these officials and employees were insistent and even intimidating”, adding that depriving each one of us the P6,000 financial assistance was absolutely disgusting, uncalled for and unconscionable.

Among the evidences attached by the complainants were the master list of the SAP beneficiaries of Brgy. Sta. Cruz, and the flash drive or USB containing the videotape recording of the pronouncement made by Munoz.