Ex-NCMF, DAR officials banned from gov’t over pork, Malampaya scams
MANILA — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has perpetually banned from government office several former officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and Department of Agrarian Reform over their involvement in the pork barrel and Malampaya fund scams.
All officials were ordered dismissed and perpetually barred from government service. Since most of the officials were already separated from their offices, the penalty of dismissal is convertible to a fine equivalent to one year’s salary.
The six NCMF executives were dismissed for their part in the alleged misuse of Senator Gregorio Honasan II’s P29.1-million Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations in 2012. Also dismissed was Honasan’s former political affairs chief Michael Benjamin.
The Ombudsman ruled that the officials, led by former Secretary Mehol Sadain, took part in the processing and approval of the allegedly irregular livelihood project targeting Muslim communities in Metro Manila and Zambales.
According to findings of an Investigation Honasan endorsed Focus Development Goals Foundation as the partner non-government organization without compliance with procurement regulations in 2012.
The NCMF officials allegedly prepared the disbursement vouchers even before the NGO was declared qualified and the memorandum of agreement was signed by the senator’s office and NCMF as the implementing agency.
Morales held the NCMF officials administratively liable for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
She ruled that the NCMF officials were not merely performing ministerial acts when they signed the disbursement vouchers and checks to release the funds.
Acting chief accountant Fedelina Aldanese, who is now acting Finance and Management Services director, is also among the dismissed officials.
Other dismissed former officials were director III Galay Makalinggan, chief Sania Busran, acting chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and cashier Olga Galido.
The Ombudsman earlier in September already found probable cause to press criminal charges against the NCMF officials and Benjamin, along with Honasan and two Focus officers.
In a separate administrative decision, Morales ordered the dismissal of former finance and management service director Teresita Panlilio and former chief administrative officer Ronald Venancio, both from DAR, over their involvement in the P900-million Malampaya fund scam.
Like the NCMF officials, their dismissal is convertible to a fine equivalent to one year’s salary. They were also ordered perpetually barred from holding public office.
Panlilio and Venancio were among the 25 respondents facing two counts of plunder and multiple graft and malversation charges after the Ombudsman issued a December finding of probable cause to bring them to court.
The alleged scam involved the diversion of the discretionary funds, sourced from royalties from the Malampaya gas field, to ghost projects under the guise of assistance to the victims of massive flooding in late 2009. SFM