MANILA – The Office of the Ombudsman has sacked two Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) officials in connection with the P900-million Malampaya scam.
The Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of DAR director Teresita Panlilio and Ronald Venancio who were found guilty of grave misconduct.
The two were ordered perpetually barred from holding public office and in case of separation from service, their penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to their salaries for one year.
Panlilio and Venancio are among the 25 people that the Ombudsman charged over the Malampaya scam, which saw P900 million in Malampaya proceeds being funneled in 2009 to 12 fake non-government organizations operated by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
The funds were meant for relief and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009.
The Ombudsman earlier cleared former president and now Deputy House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former executive secretary Eduardo Ermita, and Dominador Sison Jr. and Nilda Baui of the agrarian reform department on the Malampaya charges because of "insufficiency of evidence."
6 NCMF SACKED OVER PDAF SCAM
In a separate decision, the Ombudsman also ordered the dismissal of 6 officials from the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
The Ombudsman found NCMF officials Mehol Sadain, Fedelina Aldanese, Galay Makalinggan, Sania Busran, Aurora Aragon-Mabang, Olga Galido; and Michael Benjamin, the political affairs chief of former Senator Gregorio Honasan, guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The Ombudsman said Benjamin and the six NCMF officials “participated in the preparation, processing and approval of the Memorandum of Agreement and the PDAF documents governing the project implementation and fund releases to Focus Development Goals Foundation, as NGO partner.”
The Ombudsman found that in April 2012, the Department of Budget and Management released P30 million as part of the Honasan’s PDAF with the NCMF as implementing agency.
The fund was intended to finance small and medium enterprise and livelihood projects for the benefit of Muslim Filipinos in communities in the Metro Manila and Zambales.
The anti-graft body, however, said “Honasan endorsed Focus Development as NGO-partner without compliance with procurement regulations.”
It said a check dated May 30, 2012 and a disbursement voucher approving the payment were prepared by public respondents in favor of Focus even before the NGO was found qualified to undertake the project, the MOA was signed by the Office of Senator Honasan, NCMF and Focus, and Honasan authorized the release of funds to Focus.
“The respondents were not performing ministerial acts when they signed the disbursement vouchers and checks for the release of funds to Focus,” the Ombudsman said.