By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
A punong barangay and a municipal social welfare and development officer in Negros Occidental’s Isabela town were arrested last week for alleged irregularities in the distribution of emergency cash assistance from the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
Mae Fajardo of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office was arrested on September 10 while punong barangay Maria Luz Ferrer of Barangay 8 was nabbed the next day.
The two were arrested by Isabela police through the strength of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Cyclamen Jison Fernandez of the Regional Trial Court in La Carlota City.
Isabela acting police chief, Police Captain Joseph Partidas, said the court recommended a P72,000 bail bond for the temporary liberty of Fernandez and P162,000 for Ferrer.
Ferrer and Fajardo were accused of “bias” in selecting beneficiaries, and falsification of the list of SAP beneficiaries, said Partidas.
Ferrer’s 13-year-old granddaughter was allegedly among those listed to receive P6,000 cash assistance.
But Ferrer denied this and asserted that the allegation was a concoction of someone who had personal grudges against her.
She pointed out that her granddaughter was an eligible recipient as she was considered an orphan after being abandoned at seven months old by her father and her mother passing away.
Ferrer added that her granddaughter’s real last name was Yurpo, not Ferrer.
The embattled village chief stated they will file counter charges against their accuser.
Fajardo, meanwhile, did not issue any comment on the allegations.
The Office of the Ombudsman earlier placed under six months of preventive suspension six Negros Occidental barangay captains and one from Capiz charged for alleged irregularities in the SAP distribution./DGB, WDJ