NCMF execs sacked anew over pork barrel scam
Five officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) were ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel misuse of former Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong.
In a statement on Friday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said she has ordered the dismissal from service and perpetual disqualification from holding public office of Secretary/Commissioner Mehol Sadain, Director III Galay Makalinggan, Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, Acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang and Cashier Olga Galido.
Sadain, a former commissioner in the Commission on Elections, was appointed NCMF secretary in 2012 by former President Benigno Aquino III.
They were found guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The court also ordered their perpetual disqualification from public office and the forfeiture of their retirement benefits.
In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible into a fine equivalent to respondents’ salaries for one year.
The dismissal of the said officials stemmed from their indictment for graft or violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over the anomalous use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Datumanong, who recently passed away.
Datumanong also served as public works and justice secretary during the term of former President Gloria Macagal-Arroyo.
Ombudsman investigation showed that in May 2012, the Department of Budget and Management released P3.8 million of Datumanong’s PDAF for the implementation of NCMF to finance livelihood programs such as soap making, candle making and meat processing in the municipalities of Mamasapano, Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sanki.
Ombudsman said Datumanong endorsed Maharlikang Lipi Foundation, Inc. (MLFI) as NGO partner.
The Commission on Audit later said the selection of the NGO violated COA Circular No. 2007-01 because of the absence of a public bidding.
In its decision, Ombudsman Morales ruled that “respondents participated in the preparation, processing and approval of the Memorandum of Agreement and the PDAF documents governing the project implementation and fund releases to MLFI.”
“The funds in question could not have been transferred to the MLFI if not for the recommendations as well as certifications, approval, and signatures found in the corresponding disbursement vouchers and checks,” the Ombudsman said.
Morales said there was “extraordinary accommodation” given to the NGO partner as shown in the release of the unnumbered and undated disbursement vouchers and issuance of check prior to the execution of a Memorandum of Agreement.
This was not the first time the officials were ordered dismissed.
They had been sacked and perpetually banned from public office for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service over the alleged misuse of Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II’s pork barrel funds. RAM/rga
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