• Ombudsman finds ex-NCMF commissioner liable over ‘pork’

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    The Ombudsman has found former National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Commissioner Mehol Sadain and four others administratively liable for their involvement in the anomalous use of a former Maguindanao lawmaker’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocation.

    The four others are then-Director III Galay Makalinggan, former Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, then-Acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and then-Cashier Olga Galido.

    According to a statement issued on Friday, the Ombudsman ordered their dismissal after it found them guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

    The penalty of dismissal is convertible to a fine equivalent to the respondent’s one year salary in case he or she is no longer in the service.

    The Ombudsman’s statement said, the Department of Budget and Management issued a Special Allotment Release Order in 2012 covering P3.8 million in favor of NCMF as implementing agency.

    The sum, which was charged against the late former Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong’s PDAF, was meant to finance livelihood programs such as soap making, candle making, and meat processing for Mamasapano, Ampatuan, and Datu Abdullah Sanki towns.

    The Ombudsman said that Datumanong requested that the P3.8 million be coursed through the Maharlikang Lipi Foundation, Inc. (MLFI) as the partner non-government organization (NGO).

    Upon audit, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that the selection of the NGO was undertaken without public bidding in violation of COA Circular No. 2007-01.

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales held in the decision that “respondents participated in the preparation, processing and approval of the Memorandum of Agreement and the PDAF documents governing the project implementation and fund releases to MLFI.”

    REINA TOLENTINO

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