President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday said he would to go after local officials who misused government money in distributing cash assistance to poor households in the midst of coronavirus pandemic.
“Sinabi ko na sa inyo eh talagang hahabulin ko kayo and you will go to jail para may example ako sa panahon kung wala na ako dito pagka-Presidente,” President Duterte said in a public address aired Friday morning.
Misappropriation of money, whether state fund or donation, is malversation, the President said.
“’Pag nandiyan na sa kamay ninyo ‘yan, it’s malversation. Maski na donation,” he said. “May nag-donate diyan sa iyo tapos tinanggap mo, alam mo i-donate sa mga tao intended for fire victims, flood victims, kung ano-ano, ‘pag tinanggap mo ‘yan on that condition upon that kind of agreement, once you accept the money and you misspent it or misappropriate it, it is malversation.”
Officials found guilty of corruption are barred from holding office in addition to the punishment for the crime that they have committed, he noted.
“Kaya wala kayong maasahang tulong sa akin. For after all, did I not warn you earlier na ‘wag itong pera na itong inappropriate ng Congress, ibinigay para i-implement natin, ‘wag ninyong lokohin.”
In his report to the President, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is continuously building cases and filing charges against local officials accused of abusing government funds.
The DILG, he said, is investigating 155 barangay captains and officials and 30 cases have been referred to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Maganda po rito marami nang nagsasalita kasi po lahat ng mga nakatanggap ay pinaposte namin ‘yung kanilang mga pangalan sa mga barangay halls para makita ng mga mamamayan kung sino talaga ‘yung mga nakakatanggap,” he told the President.
In his previous addresses, President Duterte warned local officials not to misappropriate government money and distribute the cash assistance to the intended beneficiaries.
He even offered a reward to those who can provide information regarding officials stealing public fund.
The first tranche of the social amelioration program (SAP) is almost complete, with almost 99 percent already distributed to the recipients.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is preparing the second tranche, according to Año. PND