Sen. Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson thus questioned the lack of progress in a payroll row at the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 11, where P1 million in employees' travel allowance (TEV) was allegedly diverted to the account of an administrative assistant, and an official tried to cover up the mess.
"We should not wait for the other cases. This is pretty solid. There were victims. By now, one year later, dapat nasa Ombudsman na siguro ito. Kung now wala pang progress, we cannot expect any more action on this matter (We should not wait for other cases. This is pretty solid. There were victims. But it's been one year, the case should have been before the Ombudsman. But up to now there seems to be no progress. We cannot expect any more action on this matter)," Lacson said at the deliberation on the 2022 budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Citing a letter complaint by Audrie Perez - former president of the Social Welfare Employees Association of the Philippines (SWEAP), Lacson said the incident occurred sometime in October 2020.
He said a DSWD staff who is a Pantawid Field Implementer went to the Land Bank of the Philippines' San Pedro branch to seek assistance after her TEV was not deposited to her account.
It was learned that her allowance, as well as the TEVs of other regional staff, were deposited to the account of one Ireneo Suerto, an administrative assistant charged with preparing the payroll.
But the DSWD management, despite being informed of the incident, did not terminate Suerto or even file charges against him, merely not renewing his contract when it expired in December 2020.
"Worse, a certain Margie Cabido (Pantawid Program Division Chief) ordered to keep the incident a ‘secret’. This complaint has also been elevated to Secretary Rolando Bautista, but no investigation has been conducted until now," Lacson said.
"That’s why out of desperation, Mr. Perez sought the assistance of other officials in Congress," he added.