9 govt workers axed for misusing ‘pork’

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The Office of the Ombudsman has found nine individuals administratively liable for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for the allegedly unlawful disbursement of former Misamis Occidental (First District) Rep. Marina Clarete’s 2007 to 2009 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel.”

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These were former National Agribusiness Corp. manager Romulo Relevo and former Nabcor bookkeeper Maria Ninez Guañizo; former National Livelihood Development Corp. directors Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal and Chita Jalandoni as well as former NLDC division chiefs Gregoria Buenaventura, Ofelia Ordoñez and Sofia Cruz; and former Technology Resource Center chief accountant Marivic Jover and former budget specialist Consuelo Espiritu.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday, the Ombudsman meted the nine individuals the penalty of dismissal from the service with cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service.

The penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to their one year’s salary in case they are no longer in the government service.

According to the statement, the Ombudsman found that the nine respondents allegedly extended “unusual” accommodation in the release of P47.5 million in PDAF in favor of three non-government organizations (NGOs), which Clarete allegedly specifically chose as project partners in implementing integrated livelihood development projects in Misamis.

The three NGOs were Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc. (KKAMFI), Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc. (KMBFI) and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI).

It was found that the projects were allegedly non-existent and that the list of beneficiaries, accomplishments and liquidation reports were allegedly fictitious.

The respondents were also found to have allegedly “certified the disbursements and issued checks without verifying the supporting documents,” according to the statement.

“Instead of using the PDAF disbursements received by them to implement the livelihood projects, the officers of KKAMFI, KMBFI and AFPI, as well as their suppliers, all acting in conspiracy with Clarete and herein respondents, diverted the PDAF for their own personal benefits,” the Ombudsman said.

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