Ombudsman sacks ex-Speaker’s staff members, state firm execs over pork
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the dismissal of several state firm officials, as well as two staff members of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Nograles’s chief of staff, Jennifer Karen Lagbas, and his chief public affairs officer, Danilo Jamito, were among those found guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. Thus they were dismissed and perpetually barred from public office.
The two were held administratively liable over the alleged misuse of the P47.5-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations of the late Misamis Oriental Rep. Danilo Lagbas from 2007 to 2009. Lagbas died in June 2008 and was replaced by Nograles as district caretaker.
In a separate decision, the Ombudsman imposed the same penalty on Elsie Walican, the political affairs assistant of former La Union Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr., over the alleged misuse of his P43.65-million PDAF proceeds from 2009 to 2010.
Besides Nograles and Dumpit’s employees, fresh administrative sanctions were handed down against several officers of the National Livelihood Development Corp., the Technology Resource Center, and the National Agribusiness Corp.
This time, the penalties were related to the misuse of the PDAF proceeds of former Ilocos Sur Rep. Salacnib Baterina and Davao del Sur Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas IV, as well as Nograles and Dumpit.
Morales ordered the dismissal of the following: NLDC representatives Gondelina Amata, Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Ofelia Ordoñez, Sofia Cruz, Filipina Rodriguez, Chita Jalandoni and Gregoria Buenaventura; TRC representatives Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover, Belina Concepcion, and Maurine Dimaranan, along with Nabcor representatives Alan Javellana, Encarnita Cristina Munsod, Romulo Relevo and Rhodora Mendoza.
Since they have long been separated from the now-defunct state corporations, the fresh dismissal penalties are convertible to a fine equivalent to one year’s salary.
The media bureau of the Office of the Ombudsman announced these developments on Wednesday.
Many multimillion-peso projects funded by PDAF proceeds in partnership with dubious non-government organizations allegedly selected by legislators were found to be “ghost projects.”
Field investigation revealed that many beneficiaries denied having received the livelihood technology kits, grafted seedlings, hand tractors and water pumps for which the pork barrel funds were earmarked. The projects were also supported by questionable and spurious documents, and suppliers denied providing the farm implements or issuing any invoices or receipts.
Criminal cases are pending against the said legislators and officials at the Sandiganbayan. /atm
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