FOR “soliciting” money from a calamity aid recipient, the office of the Philippine ombudsman suspends two barangay officials from a small municipality of Iloilo in Western Visayas.
Suspended for nine months are Barangay Captain Cherryl Peniero and Kagawad Rolly Castro both of Barangay Poblacion Southeast Zone, Lemery, Iloilo. They were suspended after it was proven that they solicited money from a beneficiary of the government’s Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA).
According to Deputy Ombudsman Paul Elmer Clemente said the two barangay officials took P10,000 (about US $217) from the P30,000 (about US $652) that complainant Milagros Biñas received as ESA.
Biñas received the monetary assistance from the government so she could rebuild her house that was totally damaged by Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.
Ombudsman investigations show that Peniero and Castro visited Biñas sometime in June 2015 to inform her that she is entitled to receive ESA amounting to P30,000. In exchange, they “asked” her to make a monetary donation.
Respondent Castro then accompanied Biñas when she finally claimed her ESA on June 11, 2015 and then took Php10,000.00 from complainant.
In their defense, the respondents said the money given by Biñas was given to another beneficiary.
Clemente, in rejecting the respondents defense, said there is no law or rule that authorizes the course of action they made.
“The fact remains that they, in conspiracy with each other, extorted money from someone who was in dire need of assistance from the government. This office cannot tolerate such abhorrent behavior from public officials,” Clemente said.
Peniero and Castro, it was learned, are also facing a criminal case for solicitation or acceptance of gifts under Section 7 (d) of Republic Act 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).