Ombudsman sacks 2 DAR execs over Malampaya scam
The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed from service two agrarian reform officials for their alleged involvement in the Malampaya fund scam.
In a statement on Thursday, the anti-graft office said it found Director Teresita Panlilio and Ronald Venancio, both from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), guilty of grave misconduct.
They were also perpetually disqualified from public office. In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondents’ salaries for one year.
The two were among the 25 respondents in the plunder, malversation and graft charges ordered filed by the Ombudsman for the alleged P900-million Malampaya fund scam.
The Ombudsman earlier cleared former President Gloria Arroyo and her executive secretary Eduardo Ermita from the charges, but found probable cause to file plunder, graft and malversation charges against Arroyo’s budget secretary (now Camarines Sur congressman) Rolando Andaya Jr., former agrarian reform secretary (now mayor of Masiu, Lanao del Sur province) Nasser Pangandaman, and 23 others for the alleged scheme of diverting royalties from the Malampaya gas plant into ghost projects.
At least P900 million Malampaya royalties intended for victims of storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009 were allegedly coursed through DAR then diverted to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles’ bogus foundations that implemented ghost projects.
The Ombudsman also found that the respondents manufactured lists of farmer-beneficiaries and forged the signatures of the recipients.
Ruby Tuason, the state witness in the Napoles pork barrel scam against former senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, was also ordered charged for plunder over the Malampaya scam.
She was accused of cooperating with Napoles to facilitate the Malampaya fund release through her brother Remy, a contact in Malacañang, and for allegedly receiving P242.775 million kickbacks at her house.
Plunder is a non-bailable offense of accumulating at least P50 million in ill-gotten wealth. JE/rga
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