6 former TRC, Nabcor officials dismissed anew
The Office of the Ombudsman has let the axe fall for the second time on six former government officials over their alleged complicity in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Ordered sacked were Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu of the now-defunct Technology Resource Center (TRC), and Maria Ninez Guañizo, Victor Roman Cacal and Rhodora Mendoza of the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor).
In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday said the erring ex-public officials had also been banned for life from working in government after they were found guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.
In addition, the antigraft body likewise forfeited all their retirement benefits.
The administrative case against them was in relation to the purported misuse of P79.2 million in pork barrel allocations of former Representatives Reno Lim (Albay) and Candido Pancrudo (Bukidnon) from 2007 to 2010.
“[The] respondents [exhibited] a deliberate lack of care or diligence in the performance of their respective duties in such a way as to achieve the common design of defrauding the government,” Morales said.
“While they may argue that they had nothing to do with the submission of these falsified documents, the patent inconsistencies or irregularities should have alerted them and urged them to exercise more caution in the approval of the disbursement vouchers,” she argued.
The six, who were also standing trial for a string of criminal cases in the Sandiganbayan over the scam, had been previously dismissed from the service by the Ombudsman involving a similar case.
The two state-owned firms were among the government agencies which were used as conduits in funneling billions of pesos in Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), the official name of pork barrel, of lawmakers to spurious foundations set up by alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
According to Morales, the Ombudsman special panel of investigators held Cunanan and the others “liable for their indispensable cooperation and conspiracy” in the allegedly fraudulent use of the PDAF allotments of Pancrudo and Lim.
She said Lim allocated P30 million of his pork barrel to livelihood seminars in his congressional district while Pancrudo spent P49.2 million in his PDAF for the purchase of agriculture training kits for his constituents.
This prompted the Ombudsman to file cases for graft and malversation of public funds in November 2015 against them and officials of Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) and C.C. Barredo Publishing House.
Morales said antigraft investigators found out that the projects supposedly bankrolled by Lim and Pancrudo’s PDAF were nonexistent while the listed beneficiaries did not receive any form of assistance.
“The nongovernment organizations identified and endorsed by the congressmen were also of dubious existence and were chosen without complying with the rules on procurement,” the Ombudsman said.
“The liquidation report submitted to account for the multimillion-peso fund were also fabricated,” she added. TVJ
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