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PIA Press Release

Barangay chief jailed for defrauding SSS

Cagayan de Oro City (14 November) -- A trial court here has sentenced a barangay chief to a maximum of six months in prison for certifying the death of a husband of a town mate, who filed false Social Security System (SSS) funeral and death claims, court records show.

Judge Isabelo Sabanal also fined Barangay Captain Jose Urbina of Talakag, Bukidnon and his accomplices Lolita Manuel, Delfin Polidan and Renato Bocanan and ordered them to reimburse SSS a total of P89,896, representing the lump sum death benefit.

"With the evidence at hand, the Court finds itself morally certain of the criminal liability of Accused Jose Urbina," Sabanal said in his 11-page decision.

SSS filed a case against Urbina and his accomplish in 1998 after he issued a Barangay Certification to Lolita Manuel on the alleged death of her husband Felizardo due to rabies. The certification of a member's "Fact of Death" is one of the documents needed in processing funeral and death benefit applications.

During the trial, SSS presented Felizardo as witness. Lolita and two others, Poledan and Boconan, who executed false affidavits of Felizardo's death, are at large.

SSS Officer-in-Charge Horacio Templo said over the years, SSS has tightened its screening process for benefit and loan applications and has instituted a fraud validation system procedure in its Biometric ID system in which fingerprints and signatures of applicants are matched with information in the SSS database.

"SSS is bolstering its anti-fraud mechanism and is strengthening its ties with law enforcement authorities to crack down on those who attempt to defraud SSS," Templo said.

In a July survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS) among 1,000 enterprises in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Cavite-Laguna-Batangas, and Cagayan de Oro-Iligan, SSS was cited as the top agency in the Executive Branch and was ranked second to the Supreme Court in terms of sincerity in battling graft and corruption. (SSS-10 / RAGCOM) [top]

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