3 Bulacan village officials charged for graft over COVID-19 cash aid anomalies

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 14) — Three barangay officials in Bulacan are facing graft charges over the alleged anomalous distribution of cash aid for residents affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The National Bureau of Investigation on Thursday said graft and corruption cases have been filed against local officials of Barangay San Agustin in Hagonoy town in Bulacan. Charges were filed against Barangay Kagawad Danilo Flores, Barangay Executive Assistant Richard "Boy" Bautista and his wife, Barangay Chairman Jason Mendoza, former Kagawad Levi Cosay on May 11.

NBI said three complainants alleged that on April 27, Flores demanded a portion of the P6,500 cash subsidy they received. They said Flores asked for P4,000 to allegedly give to the municipal mayor and frontliners. The witnesses said that P117,000 was collected by Flores, who then turned over the cash to Bautista and his wife.

In NBI's statement, it said the witnesses said that they believe that Chairman Mendoza was aware of his subordinate's corrupt actions.

Meanwhile, 43 mayors will be given show-cause orders by the Interior Department for having poor performance in the distribution of the emergency cash subsidy in their localities.

There is a strict directive from the national government to arrest and charge corrupt officials who take advantage of the social amelioration program (SAP) intended to help poor families during the global health crisis.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has reported that 183 barangay officials are under investigation for alleged corruption in distributing cash aid.

President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista to let soldiers help in the rollout of the cash subsidy, citing corruption and lack of manpower which delayed the distribution.