Ombudsman also looking into probe of cash aid releases

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Residents wait in line to receive their cash aid (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 19) – The Office of the Ombudsman said it is looking into probing cash aid releases under the government's Social Amelioration Program.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires said Friday that the anti-graft agency has received about 30 complaints regarding the subsidy, which grants monthly aid of ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 for the two months under strict lockdown measures.

He told CNN Philippines' The Source that the team is still checking to see if the data they have would allow Ombudsman probers to head to a direct investigation or will need to go through a fact-finding committee first.

Even this early, Martires admits they may encounter problems for the investigation, as documents forwarded to them were lacking – from the list of beneficiaries to even the names of barangay captains. He earlier told authorities to check Recto in Manila, following reports that some individuals were getting fake IDs, to present in order to get financial aid.

"I think we’ll have a hard time finding out 'yung fake claimants," he admitted, following reports that some 22,000 duplicate names were discovered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development on its list of beneficiaries.

Martires also noted that he will still have to discuss with the Department of the Interior and Local Government regarding the available data which they can share with the agency.

The government has just started releasing the second tranche of aid to recipients this month, which should have supported poor families under lockdown in May.

Some 98 percent of the beneficiaries were able to receive the first tranche of cash aid, but implementation was marred with delays and corruption allegations.

RELATED: Govt. eyes to finish cash aid delivery by June 23