18 gov’t officials sacked by Ombudsman over pork barrel

THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman (OMB) ordered the dismissal from the service of 18 government officials for their alleged involvement in the multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam of former representatives, Prospero Nograles, Salacnib Baterina, Marc Douglas Cagas IV and Thomas Dumpit Jr.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered perpetual disqualification of officials of from National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC), Technology Resource Center (TRC), including the now defunct National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor).

Ordered perpetually dismissed from government service are: chief of staff Jennifer Karen Lagbas and chief public affairs officer Danilo Jamito; Nabcor representatives, Alan Javellana, Encarnita Cristina Munsod, Romulo Relevo, Rhodora Mendoza; NLDC representatives, Gondelina Amata, Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Ofelia Ordoñez, Sofia Cruz; and TRC representatives Marivic Jover; Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover, Belina Concepcion, and Maurine Dimaranan; Filipina Rodriguez, Chita Jalandoni, Gregoria Buenaventura and Elsie Walican.

The respondents were found liable for various administrative offenses such as grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

In case the penalty can no longer be implemented due to separation from service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent’s one year salary.

Ombudsman investigators found that the multi-million peso PDAF projects were “ghost projects.”

“It was discovered that many of the livelihood project beneficiaries denied receipt of the livelihood technology kits/materials, grafted seedlings, hand tractors and water pumps,” read the press statement posted on the agency website.

The investigation also showed that the reported projects implemented through the NGOs were supported by questionable and spurious documents. Suppliers also denied providing farm implements or issuing any invoices and receipts.

Respondents are also facing trial before the Sandiganbayan for multiple counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 9184) and malversation.

The OMB has filed charges against Nograles on March before the Sandiganbayan for three counts of violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, one count of malversation and two counts of malversation through falsification of public documents.

Meanwhile, Cagas was charged before the Sandiganbayan in September 2016 for two counts of violation of Sec. 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019), one count of malversation and another count for malversation through falsification of public documents in connection with the pork barrel scam.

On July 2016 Cagas was also indicted two counts of malversation and two counts of violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 for the anomalous utilization of his P11 million PDAF for the implementation of projects such as the distribution of agricultural production and livelihood packages in the form of fertilizers, seeds and sprayers.

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