BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Lack of probable cause was the reason cited by Assistant City Prosecutor Romel Gabuya for dismissing the anti-graft and corrupt practices charges filed against Mandalagan Barangay Captain Arturo Parreño and 10 other officials over alleged Social Amelioration Program anomaly.
Aside from Parreño, also exonerated from the charges were kagawads Bernabe Canoy, Aaron Abao and Michael Medel, SK president Mary Joy Galleto, barangay personnel Elizabeth Ferrer Garzon, Luz Villaflor, Christine Beatingo, Mary Nel Galleto Guardiano, and Stephen Ryan Rimpus, and Purok Santol president Joel Nicavera.
A copy of the resolution furnished to the DAILY STAR by Abao yesterday showed that Gabuya explained that what the respondents did was merely to distribute the social amelioration cards, based on the criteria given to them by the Department of Social Services and Development.
He said that it is the DSSD that will verify and validate the cards so that those who are qualified could claim their cash assistance from the City Treasurer’s Office, adding that the respondents were able to exhaustively rebut the allegations against them.
Complainants enumerated the persons or instances to buttress the case against the respondents on the perception of unfair and biased selection process with favoritism relating to the SAP fund distribution, Gabuya also said.
In dismissing the case, Gabuya emphasized that what the complainants did was to cite situations or instances to prove their allegations but failed to present evidences to substantiate their claims.
In a joint affidavit filed by the complainants in June last year, through the assistance of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, they stated that the respondents conspired with each other as part of the Barangay Selection Process Team.
They alleged that the officials did not properly screen the qualified beneficiaries and instead prioritized their immediate families, close relatives, barangay health and paid workers, some of whom are living in big subdivisions, and are political affiliates. They added that this resulted in qualified beneficiaries being left out and also claimed that they found double and triple entries of names of those who availed of the SAP grant released by the national government due to the Covid-19 pandemic.*