Village chief, three others cleared in SAP controversy

Photo Courtesy of ABS-CBN News

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – A village chief and three other barangay personnel here were cleared from graft charges in relation to the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in 2020.

This, after the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office junked the complaint for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act filed against village chief Kim Piramo of Barangay 19, barangay secretary Joemarie Cordeta, barangay treasurer Ryza Fronda, and health worker Jean Doromal.

The City Prosecutor’s Office also dismissed the complaints for violation of Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan Act to Heal as One), and Republic Act 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) filed against the said respondents.

The complaint was filed after 11 residents in the barangay, including a person with disability (PWD), accused the respondents of conniving to give the SAP allowance to their relatives and families who are not qualified beneficiaries of the cash aid supposedly given by the national government to qualified households affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The complaint was filed in May 2020 through the assistance of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Bacolod.

In a resolution issued on November 17, 2021, Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Ditching said “the complainants should have raised the issue of their non-inclusion in the list as well as the alleged inclusion of unqualified beneficiaries, with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and not immediately file a criminal case against the respondents.”

Ditching said the DSWD generates the list of SAP beneficiaries, and the respondents cannot be held liable for the non-inclusion of the complainants in the master list of SAP beneficiaries.

For his part, Piramo said they are thankful for the decision saying their conscience is clear.