Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of graft charges against former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando and several others over the alleged anomalous use of Metro Manila Film Fest (MMFF) funds.
The Office of the Ombudsman said 13 counts of graft will be filed against Fernando at the Sandiganbayan.
Also to be charged are MMDA Assistant General Manager Edenison Fainsan, former Director Leonila Querijero, former consultant Rolando Josef, former Chief Revenue Officer Cleofe Ablog and former General Manager Robert Nacianceno.
“Respondents’ conspiratorial act of authorizing and approving the irregular payments and expenditures depleted the funds of the MMFF thereby causing it undue injury,” Morales said.
According to the Ombudsman, notices of disallowance were issued regarding several disbursements from 2003 to 2009 based on a special audit conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA).
These disbursements include P1.6 million as alleged birthday gift to Fernando, P11.8 million for cultural projects and P10.8 million in cash incentives supposedly granted to the chairman and members of the Executive Committee.
The Ombudsman said COA found that no receipts were issued by local government units to prove that they received the money allotted for cultural projects.
Also, the COA noted that the cash incentives were made through a pay-to-cash basis.
Meanwhile, the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of Fainsan and Querijero after they were found administratively liable for grave misconduct.
They also face perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits and cancellation of eligibility with bar from taking the civil service examination.