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9 gov’t execs sacked over pork barrel, Malampaya scams

  • Written by Joel dela Torre
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 324

SEVEN executives of the National Council for Muslim Affairs (NCMF) including the chief of political affairs of Senator Gringo Honasan, and two officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) were ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman for their involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Malampaya scams.

The Ombudsman found guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service were NCMF officials Mehol Sadain, Fedelina Aldanese, Galay Makalinggan, Sania Busran, Aurora Aragon-Mabang, Olga Galido and Senator Honasan’s political affairs chief Michael Benjamin.

In a separate decision, the Ombudsman also ordered the dismissal from the service of Teresita Panlilio and Ronald Venancio, both from the DAR, for grave misconduct.

The nine officials were ordered perpetually barred from holding public office and in case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondents’ salaries for one year.

The Ombudsman found out that Sadain and others “participated in the preparation, processing and approval of the Memorandum of Agreement and the PDAF documents governing the project implementation and fund releases to Focus Development Goals Foundation, as NGO partner.”
In April 2012, the Department of Budget and Management released P30 million as part of Honasan’s PDAF with the NCMF as implementing agency.
The fund was intended to finance small and medium enterprise/livelihood projects for the benefit of Muslim Filipinos in communities in the National Capital Region and Zambales.
Documents showed that in June 2012, Honasan endorsed Focus Development as NGO-partner without compliance with procurement regulations.
According to the Ombudsman, a check dated May 30, 2012 and disbursement voucher approving the payment “were prepared by public respondents in favor of Focus even before the NGO was informed that it was found qualified to undertake the project on June 4, 2012.  The MOA was signed by the Office of Senator Honasan, NCMF and Focus, and Honasan authorized the release of funds to Focus.”
Honasan and others facilitated and approved the payment in favor of Focus through two tranches totaling P29.1 million.
“The respondents were not performing ministerial acts when they signed the disbursement vouchers and checks for the release of funds to Focus,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said.
Meanwhile, Panlilio and Venancio were among the 25 respondents facing two counts of plunder and multiple graft and malversation charges after the Ombudsman established their participation in the illegal diversion of P900 million from the Malampaya funds.
The P900 million was then downloaded to the DAR and distributed to 12 NGOs backed by Janet Lim-Napoles.   
The Ombudsman found out that the fund was used to implement “ghost projects” as the documents were all fictitious and there were no deliveries of agricultural kits or packages, adding the respondents manufactured the lists of farmer-beneficiaries and forged the signatures of the recipients.