Ex-MMDA chief accused of MMFF fund misuse, faces raps

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2016 08:51 AM | Updated as of Jul 19 2016 12:09 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of 13 graft charges against former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando for the alleged anomalous use of Metro Manila Film Fest (MMFF) funds.

Also ordered indicted are former MMDA officials Edenison Fainsan, assistant general manager for finance and administration; Leonila Querijero, director; Rolando Josef, consultant; Cleofe Ablog, chief revenue officer; and Robert Nacianceno, general manager.

The Ombudsman accused Fernando, Fainsan, Querijero, Josef, Ablog and Nacianceno of conspiring by authorizing and approving the irregular payments and expenditures of P24.2 million in MMDA funds from 2003 to 2009.

This includes P1.6 million birthday cash gift to Fernando; P11.8 million expenses for cultural projects; and P10.8 million in cash incentives granted to the chairman and members of the executive committee, which were noted in the special audit conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA).

The Ombudsman added COA found irregularities in the use of funds, such as the lack of official receipts issued by the local government units to prove receipt of funds granted for cultural projects and absence of duly approved payrolls for cash incentives. The COA also questioned why the checks for cash incentives were issued in the name of Ablog, and were issued on a pay-to-cash basis.

Fernando was appointed MMDA chairman from June 2002 until December 2009. He is currently elected as the representative of Marikina City.