PHILIPPINE Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales dismisses from office six government officials involved in the multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Dismissed from government service were Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu of the Technology Resource Center (TRC); Maria Ninez Guañizo, Victor Roman Cacal and Rhodora Mendoza from the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR).
They were axed from their positions after being found administratively liable for Grave Misconduct and Serious Dishonesty.
Aside from being dismissed from service, all their retirement benefits were forfeited and they were perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
The special panel of Ombudsman investigators found Cunanan, et. al. liable for their indispensable cooperation and conspiracy in the anomalous utilization of the PDAF of representatives Candido Pancrudo, Jr. of the 1st district of Bukidnon and Reno Lim of the 2nd district of Albay.
From 2007 to 2010, Pancrudo received
P49.2 million in PDAF intended for livelihood trainings and kits on goat and swine raising, banana and sweet potato culture, while Lim received P30 million in 2007 as his PDAF intended for livelihood training resources.
Actual field investigation conducted by the Ombudsman revealed that the projects were bogus and that alleged beneficiaries denied being recipients of any livelihood training or kits.
The non-government organizations (NGOs) identified and endorsed by the congressmen were also of dubious existence and were chosen without complying with the rules on procurement. The liquidation report submitted to account for the multi-million peso fund were also fabricated.
Morales explained that “while they may argue that they had nothing to do with the submission of these falsified documents, the patent inconsistencies or irregularities should have alerted them and urged them to exercise more caution in the approval of the Disbursement Vouchers.”
Furthermore, Morales added that “respondents [exhibited] a deliberate lack of care or diligence in the performance of their respective duties in such a way as to achieve the common design of defrauding the government.”
It will be recalled that in November 2015, the Ombudsman ordered the filing of charges against Lim for the anomalous utilization of his 2007 PDAF.
Lim, together with five TRC officials, Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) representatives and Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House, are facing charges for four counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and four counts of Malversation.
On the other hand, Pancrudo was charged with two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, Malversation of Public Funds and Malversation through Falsification of Public Documents.