Ombudsman: 18 gov't officials dismissed over PDAF scam
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Office of the Ombudsman has sacked and barred from government service 18 officials, many from implementing agencies allegedly used as conduits for the multi-billion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
The Ombudsman announced this on Wednesday, June 28. The cases are related to the alleged PDAF misuse of former speaker Prospero Nograles, and former representatives Salacnib Baterina of the First District of Ilocos Sur, Marc Douglas Cagas IV of the First District of Davao del Sur, and Thomas Dumpit Jr of the Second District of La Union.
The dismissed officials served the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC), Technology Resource Center (TRC) and the now abolished National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR).
- Karen Lagbas (Nograles' chief of staff)
- Danilo Jamito (Nograles' public affairs officer)
- Alan Javellana (NABCOR)
- Encarnita Cristina Munsod (NABCOR)
- Romulo Relevo (NABCOR)
- Rhodora Mendoza (NABCOR)
- Gondelina Amata (NLDC)
- Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal (NLDC)
- Ofelia Ordoñez (NLDC)
- Sofia Cruz (NLDC)
- Marivic Jover (TRC)
- Dennis Cunanan (TRC)
- Belina Concepcion (TRC)
- Maurine Dimaranan (TRC)
- Filipina Rodriguez (TRC)
- Chita Jalandoni (TRC)
- Gregoria Buenaventura (TRC)
- Elsie Walican (TRC)
Several people on the list had been meted the same administrative punishment for their participation in the alleged anomalous transactions of other lawmakers involved in the PDAF scam. The last time that the ax fell on them was over the PDAF scam case of detained former senator Jinggoy Estrada.
"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," the Ombudsman said.
The agencies in question were supposed to have facilitated multi-million pesos worth of "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. 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," the Ombudsman said.
The dismissed officials had been charged with graft and malversation charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
The Office of the Ombudsman has continued to file new sets of charges before the Sandiganbayan connected to the PDAF scam.
Based on the last update, the Ombudsman has filed cases against 50 of the 240 lawmakers mentioned in the special report of the Commission on Audit as having irregularities in their PDAF transaction.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who earlier said she and her office were in their "penultimate race" to file all necessary charges in court connected to the scam, retires in July 2018. – Rappler.com
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said 19 officials were dismissed. The Office of the Ombudsman later clarified that there are only 18 officials; one name, Marivic Jover, was listed twice. The story has been updated.