By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III on Friday has not yet lifted the suspension of the implementation of Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program in District 1, Quezon City in connection with the alleged TUPAD Scam which allegedly involved some lawmakers.
In an interview with Maharlika TV, Bello explained that he has yet to receive the final recommendation of the Department of Labor and Employment-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) because unlike in District 5 which has no complaints, in District 1, there were complaints that still needs to be verified.
“Hindi pa lifted [ang suspension]. I’m waiting for the final report of our regional director sa NCR. Kasi ang sabi niya may mga complaints, kakaunti pero unverified, so hindi pa sufficient to file charges against those responsible for these irregularities (The suspension is not yet lifted. I’m waiting for the final report of our regional director in NCR. She said there were few but unverified complaints so it’s not yet sufficient to file charges against those responsible for these irregularities),” Bello said.
The Labor chief said as soon as he gets the report and the recommendation of the DOLE-NCR regional director Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol, then he’ll make a decision either to continue with the suspension or lift the suspension of TUPAD implementation in District 1.
He confirmed that there were unsolicited reports about anomalies in TUPAD implementation in District 1, but unlike in District 2, nobody filed a formal complaint in the 1st District.
“‘Yun nga eh kaya lang those [unsolicited reports] are allegations, walang nag-submit ng complaint na formal complaint na duly notarized either by a notary public or prosecutor (Those unsolicited reports are allegations, nobody submitted a formal complaint which is duly notarized either by a notary public or a prosecutor),” Bello added.
Earlier this week, Bello personally visited Barangay Batasan Hills in the 2nd District of Quezon City to listen to the grievances of TUPAD beneficiaries whose names were used by unscrupulous individuals who were behind the anomaly where instead of recruiting them to work in the community in exchange for salaries because TUPAD is an emergency employment program, beneficiaries were not required to work but they will only get a total amount of Php1,000 instead of P7,518.
The deducted amount was being collected by Marlyn Velasco, identified to be a coordinator of Congresswoman Precious Hipolito-Castelo.
The TUPAD scam was first exposed in Barangay Holy Spirit when numerous beneficiaries of TUPAD program reported and filed formal complaints on the alleged illegal “slashing” of their salaries by a certain Jackie Sales who was also a coordinator of Representative Castelo.
This led to the suspension of TUPAD implementation in the 2nd District which was later on followed by the 1st and 5th Districts. However, it was found out that there were no complainants in District 5 so the suspension was lifted in the area.
The incumbent congressman in District 1 is Representative Anthony Peter “Onyx” Crisologo while in District 5 is Representative Alfredo Paolo “Alfred” Vargas III. (ai/mtvn)