Ombudsman sacks anew 5 NCMF execs for PDAF mess
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has again ordered the dismissal of five officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), this time for the alleged misuse of recently deceased Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Simeon Datumanong’s pork barrel funds.
For the second time this year, Morales meted out a lifetime ban from public office against the officials led by former Secretary Mehol Sadain, her media bureau announced on Friday.
The officials were found guilty of the administrative offense of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The administrative sanction arose from the allegedly irregular selection of the partner non-government organization for the NCMF livelihood programs funded by Datumanong’s P3.8-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation.
Then-acting chief accountant Fedelina Aldanese, who became acting Finance and Services Management director, was among the dismissed officials. Also held liable were three former NCMF officials: Director III Galay Makalinggan, acting chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang and cashier Olga Galido.
In case of separation from public office, the dismissal penalty is convertible into a fine equivalent to one year’s salary.
In-depth investigation showed that in 2012, Datumanong endorsed Maharlikang Lipi Foundation, Inc. (MLFI) as the NGO partner for the soap-making, candle-making and meat processing programs in the towns of Mamasapano, Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sangki.
However, the Commission on Audit (CoA) found a lack of public bidding in the NGO selection process, in violation of CoA Circular No. 2007-01.
The NCMF officials were faulted for their part in the preparation, processing and approval of the memorandum of agreement (MoA) and PDAF documents governing the project implementation and fund releases to MLFI.
The Ombudsman said there was “extraordinary accommodation” as the checks were already issued before the MoA for the livelihood programs was executed.
“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,” Morales ruled.
As for the criminal aspect of the case, the Ombudsman in December 2016 found probable cause to indict the NCMF officials, along with Datumanong, for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The said resolution is currently being appealed, and Datumanong died of cardiac arrest on Feb 28 without being charged at the Sandiganbayan.
Sadain and his fellow NCMF officials were also ordered dismissed in a January administrative ruling in connection with the allegedly anomalous use of Senator Gregorio Honasan II’s P29.1-million PDAF in 2012. The NCMF officials were indicted for graft along with Honasan in September 2016, but like the Datumanong case, they have yet to be charged in court. RAM/rga
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