OMB sacks 5 NCMF officials

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal and imposed the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office five executives of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos after they were found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

The NCMF executives were charged in relation to the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund of former Maguindanao Representative Simeon Datumanong in 2012.

The NCMF executives were identified as Secretary/Commissioner Mehol Sadain, Director III Galay Makalinggan, Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, Acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and Cashier Olga Galido.

“In-depth investigation uncovered that in May 2012, the Department of Budget and Management issued a Special Allotment Release Order covering P3,800,000.00 in favor of NCMF, as implementing agency, charged against Datumanong’s PDAF. The money was intended to finance livelihood programs such as soap making, candle making and meat processing for the municipalities of Mamasapano, Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sanki,” the Ombudsman said in a statement on Friday.

To facilitate the fund utilization, the Ombudsman found that Datumanong requested that the P3.8million be coursed through the Maharlikang Lipi Foundation, Inc. (MLFI), as NGO-partner.

But the Commission on Audit, in its report found that the selection of the NGO was undertaken in violation of COA Circular No. 2007-01 noting the absence of public bidding in the NGO-selection process.

The Ombudsman ruled that the “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.”

It was also found out that the funds in question could not have been transferred to the MLFI if not for the recommendations as well as certifications, approval, and signatures found in the corresponding disbursement vouchers and checks.

“There was extraordinary accommodation extended to MLFI in the examination, processing and approval by the concerned NCMF officers of the PDAF releases as show by the unnumbered and undated disbursement vouchers; and issuance of check prior to execution of the Memorandum of Agreement,” the Ombudsman added.

The NCMF officials, the Ombudsman said, are also facing trial before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for the anomalous utilization of the PDAF of the former Representative Datumanong.

“This is the second set of PDAF charges filed against Sadain,” the Ombudsman pointed out, adding that in September 2016, Sadain was also charged alongside Senator Gregorio Honasan for the anomalous utilization of Honasan’s P30million PDAF.