Ombudsman upholds dismissal of 5 NCMF execs

MANILA-- The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has upheld the dismissal from public service of five National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) executives for their complicity in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales affirmed the dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public office of Secretary/Commissioner Mehol Sadain, Director III Galay Makalinggan, Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, Acting Chief Cashier Aurora Aragon-Mabang and Cashier Olga Galido.

The five respondents were found guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent's one year salary.

They are also facing trial before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act", for the anomalous utilization of the PDAF of former Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong, who died in February 2017.

Probe found that in May 2012, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) covering PHP3.8 million in favor of NCMF, as implementing agency, charged against Datumanong's PDAF.

The money was intended to finance livelihood programs such as soap making, candle making and meat processing for the municipalities of Mamasapano, Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sanki.

To facilitate the fund utilization, Datumanong requested that the PHP3.8 million be coursed through the Maharlikang Lipi Foundation, Inc. (MLFI), as a non-government organization (NGO)-partner, through the execution of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

Upon audit, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that the selection of the NGO was undertaken in violation of COA Circular No. 2007-01 noting the absence of public bidding in the NGO-selection process.

In an order, Ombudsman Morales ruled that "it has been proven that respondents participated in the preparation and execution of the MOA on the implementation of Datumanong's PDAF-funded projects covered by the SARO."

Morales added that "respondents miserably failed to measure up to the procurement policy standards when they failed to strictly comply with the Government Procurement Reform Act."

Source: Philippines News Agency

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