By Jun Ramirez
Nine government officials have been ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for their alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Malampaya scams.
These include seven officials from National Council for Muslim Filipinos and the office of Sen. Gregorio Honasan who were found guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service:
- Mehol Sadain, NCMF secretary
- Accounting Chief Fedelina Aldanese
- Director Galay Makalinggan
- Division Chief Sania Busran
- Acting Division chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang
- Cashier Olga Galido
- Michael Benjamin, political affairs chief of Sen. Honasan
The Ombudsman filed in September 2016 graft charges with the Sandiganbayan against Honasan and NCMF officials over the same case.
The Ombudsman said Sadain and the other accused “participated in the preparation, processing and approval of the memorandum of agreement and the PDAF documents governing the project implementation and fund releases to Focus Development Goals Foundation, as NGO partner.”
The Ombudsman found that in April 2012, the Department of Budget and Management released P30 million as part of the Honasan’s PDAF with the NCMF as implementing agency.
The fund was intended to finance small and medium enterprise and livelihood projects for Muslim Filipinos in communities in Metro Manila and Zambales.
Documents showed that in June 2012, Honasan endorsed Focus Development as NGO-partner without compliance with procurement regulations.
According to the Ombudsman, the check dated May 30, 2012 and disbursement voucher approving the payment “were prepared by public respondents in favor of Focus even before the NGO was informed that it was found qualified to undertake the project on June 4, 2012, and Honasan authorized the release of funds to Focus.”
The Ombudsman said Honasan and the respondents facilitated and approved the payment in favor of Focus via two tranches totaling P29.1 million.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said “the respondents were not performing ministerial acts when they signed the disbursement vouchers and checks for the release of funds to Focus.”
In a separate resolution, the Ombudsman also ordered the dismissal of Teresita Panlilio and Ronald Venancio of the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Panlilio and Venancio were among the 25 respondents facing two counts of plunder and multiple graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan after the Ombudsman established their participation in the illegal diversion of P900 million from the Malampaya funds to the 12 NGOs of Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged brain behind the multi-million PDAF scam.
Ombudsman investigators found that the fund was used to implement “ghost projects” as the documents were all fictitious with the respondents manufacturing the lists of farmer-beneficiaries and forging their signatures.
Tags: 9 gov’t officials sacked over PDAF Malampaya funds misuse, Department of Agrarian Reform, Gregorio Honasan, Manila Bulletin, National Council for Muslim Filipinos, NCMF, Obmudsman, PDAF, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Sandignbayan