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Ombudsman upholds dismissal of NCMF execs over P3.8-M PDAF mess

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 6/20/2017 Bordadora, Norman
Office of the Ombudsman thumbnail © Jannielyn Bigtas, GMA News Office of the Ombudsman thumbnail

The Ombudsman has affirmed the dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public office of five National Commission on Muslim Filipino (NCMF) officials over their involvement in the alleged anomalous use of the P3.8-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the late  Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong.

Found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service were NCMF secretary/commissioner Mehol Sadain, director Galay Makalinggan, acting chief acountant Fedelina Aldanese, acting chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang and cashier Olga Galido.

The respondents are also facing trial before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over the anomalous use of Datumanong's PDAF.

In case the dismissal cannot be implemented due to separation from service, the penalty may be converted to a fine equivalent to the respondent's salary for one year, the Ombudsman said.

Investigation showed that in May 2012, the Department of Budget and Management issued in favor of NCMF a Special Allotment Release Order worth P3.8 million from Datumanong’s PDAF.

The amount would supposedly be used to fund livelihood programs such as soap making, candle making and meat processing for the towns of Mamasapano, Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sanki.

NCMF was chosen as the implementing agency for the project, while Datumanong coursed the money through Maharlikang Lipi Foundation, Inc. as NGO-partner through a memorandum of agreement (MOA).

Datumanong passed away last February 28.

The Commission on Audit, however, found that no public bidding was conducted for the NGO-selection process, in violation of its Circular No. 2007-01.

“[I]t 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," the Ombudsman's order read.

“[R]espondents miserably failed to measure up to the procurement policy standards when they failed to strictly comply with the Government Procurement Reform Act," it added.

Last September, the Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against Sadain over the alleged misuse of Senator Gringo Honosan's P29-million PDAF allocation in 2012. —NB, GMA News

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