SC affirms ex-Marines chief dismissal over P36-M fraud

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed an earlier decision by the Ombudsman dismissing former Marine commandant retired Major General Renato Miranda over a P36-milllion clothing allowance anomaly in his command.

The SC Second Division decided on August 22 to reverse the ruling of the Court of Appeals that sided with Miranda and which previously nullifed the Ombudsman's dismissal order.

The ruling, penned by  Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier, found that “what Miranda did was truly indispensable to the consummation of the unlawful disbursement of public funds which cause prejudiced to the government."

Although Miranda has long retired, the Supreme Court verdict cements the accessory penalty that disqualifies him from holding a public office. It also forfeits his benefits.

Miranda resigned as Marines chief in 2006 following accusations that he was part of a coup plot against then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The case

The case stems from the allotment of P36.77 million in clothing allowance for Marine personnel in 2000. Miranda and other Marine officials were found to be responsible for the fraud of issuing checks to officials with falsified signatures.

The troops to which the checks were supposedly issued testified that they never got the allowance.

Criminal graft charges have been filed against Miranda and other officers, all pending before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.

Miranda and the others were dismissed from service in 2009. He got a favorable ruling from the Court of Appeals in 2014, reversed now by the Supreme Court. –