Official corruption at the very roots

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    ‘… President Duterte just wanted to drive home the point that his campaign against graft and corruption extends to the very bottom, and we hope, starts from the very top.’

    IN his desire to stem the tide of official corruption, President Duterte took the challenge of identifying certain personalities at the House of Representatives as having accepted graft or done certain indelicacies for personal gain.

    While this is abhorrent if true, there is another similar incidence in government that we consider more vile and morally debased: this propensity of lower-level officials in the barangays to take advantage of the billions of pesos in fund releases under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) which became necessary when the government imposed an enhanced community quarantine or lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic last March.

    If House members can be shamed, then barangay officials involved in skimming and diverting subsidies to their favored friends and kin should also be reported, which the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently did.

    The DILG said 89 barangay chairmen nationwide were suspended and their salaries and allowances withheld for various SAP-related violations, anomalies, and irregularities. We believe the Filipino people have the right to know who these officials are. Here’s the “Roll of (Dis)Honor” from the President’s list:

    From Metro Manila: Rogelio Atangan Jr. of Barangay 9, Zone 2 and Olivia Suarez Barangay 181, Zone 19, Maricaban, Pasay City; Leonardo “DJ” Recto of Brgy. 11, Zone 2, and Mario Banal of Brgy. 123, Zone 9, both from District 1, Tondo; Romeo Garcia of Brgy. 449, Zone 49, and Jonas Bartolome Brgy. 418, Zone 4 both from District 4, Sampaloc, Manila; and Anthony Magno of Brgy. 283, Zone 26, District 3, Binondo, Manila; Nenita Valdez of Brgy. Mariblo, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City; Ana Liza Rosero of Brgy. Teacher’s Village West, Quezon City; Ritchie Poblacion of Brgy. Quirino 2-B, Project 2, Quezon City; and Remedios Reyes of Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Pasig City.

    From Calabarzon and Mimaropa: Josefino Malicad Jr. of Brgy. II-C, San Pablo City, Gary Remoquillo of Brgy. Landayan, San Pedro City; Rowell Cabuyao dela Torre, Brgy. Ilayang Nangka, Tayabas City; Rodelio Endaya, Brgy. Baybayin, Rosario, Batangas; Aaron Villareal of Brgy. Villa Cervesa, Oriental Mindoro; Lodilito Bandiola Jr., Brgy. Salvacion, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro; Imee Malabayas Lara of Brgy. Tumapon, Boac, Marinduque; and Leonardo Narzoles of Brgy. Tabi, Boac, Marinduque.

    From Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Zambales, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija: Rogelio Fernandez, Jason Dominguez, Marino Cabados, Antonio Delos Santos, Elmer Abenojar, Samuel Fernandez, Ariel Hiquiana, Walter Velasco, Angel Sombrito, Lawrence Delos Angeles, Froilando Fernandez, Mario Racoma, Willie Gutierrez, and Lavarnie Gopez.

    From Isabela, Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, Abra and Kalinga: Arnel Quesada, Buenvinido Ruiz, Domingo Tagufa, German Vinoya Jr., Sherwin Cadavona, Jessie Corpuz, Marlon Abuyuan, Leodines Bautista, Samson Ebenga, Wilson Cansino, Jimmy Cabiao, Dennis Felina and George Frederick Obal.

    From Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Bohol and Cebu:  Omar Guban, Medel Labayan, Allan Nevales, Anna Theresa Losiñada, Camillo Hiloma, Eusebio Lorico, Gresilda, Norma Bañadera, Roger Cantes, Rodolfo Simbajon, Mario Lamanilao, Eugene Zamora, Patricio Soco, Ulysses Raganas, Zosima Rojo, Norman Navarro, and Ignacio Cortes II.

    From Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Samar, Leyte and Capiz: Mercedita Uy, Tezardo Tejada, Evelyn Ta-asan, Noli Villarosa, Kim Piramo, Romeo Sultan, Ruel Sabequil, Tito Barnuevo, Michael Vapor, Esterlina Jacobe, Jenecita Losaria, Efren Truelda, Wilfredo Bacarra, Nathan Gabronino, and Jebanie Rios.

    From Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Butuan City, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Iligan City: Camilo Anduyan, Jocelyn Janioso, Zosimo Zapico, Maria Te, Josephina Padillo, Aurora Benemerito, Noel Alo, Apolonio Toledo and Wilfredo Membrillos.

    For sure, these barangay officials, now suspended, will have their day in court to explain their side and debunk the charges against them. But for now, President Duterte just wanted to drive home the point that his campaign against graft and corruption extends to the very bottom, and we hope, starts from the very top.