Catbalogan mayor, 2 others face graft over shelter fund

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A group of typhoon victims and survivors has filed a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman–Visayas against Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan of Catbalogan City, Samar and two others in connection with the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for families affected by Typhoon “Ruby” in 2015.

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Also named respondents are Nida Aroza, city social welfare and development officer, and Lita Solis, secretary of Barangay (village) Lagundi in Catbalogan City.

People’s Surge–Western Samar Chapter, represented by its president Ma. Rechiel Yrigon Laylay, likewise accused the respondents of grave misconduct and breach of contract.

According to the complaint, P110.19 million was released last August to Catbalogan City through a Memorandum of Agreement between the city and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The group alleged that “the beneficiaries of the said ESA whose houses were previously categorized as totally damaged were changed to partially damaged about a week prior to the cash distribution on October 13, 2016.” The “re-categorization” of beneficiaries was allegedly made by Solis with Uy’s knowledge.

The “said action resulted in the grant of cash assistance of P8,000 only for re-categorized partially damaged instead of P16,000” for those who had totally damaged houses, it alleged.

REINA TOLENTINO

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