TRC, NABCOR execs sacked over PDAF scam

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales announced yesterday the dismissal from government service of six officials for their involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

Ordered dismissed were Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu of the Technology Resource Center (TRC), and Maria Ninez Guañizo, Victor Roman Cacal and Rhodora Mendoza of the National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR).  

The dismissal orders were issued after they were found administratively liable for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.

Morales said their retirement benefits are also forfeited and they are perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

The special panel of Ombudsman investigators found Cunanan and the other respondents liable for their indispensable cooperation and conspiracy in the anomalous utilization of the pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Bukidnon 1st District Rep. Candido Pancrudo Jr. and Albay 2nd District Rep. Reno Lim.

In November 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the filing of charges against Lim and Pancrudo for the anomalous utilization of their PDAF.

Investigation showed that from 2007 to 2010, Pancrudo received P49.2 million in PDAF intended for livelihood training and kits on goat and swine raising, banana and sweet potato culture, while Lim received P30 million in 2007 as his PDAF intended for livelihood training resources.

Actual field investigation conducted by the anti-graft agency revealed that the projects were bogus and that alleged beneficiaries denied being recipients of any livelihood training or kits. 

The non-government organizations (NGOs) identified and endorsed by the congressmen were also dubious and chosen without complying with the rules on procurement. The liquidation report submitted to account for the multimillion-peso fund was also fabricated.

Morales noted that “while they may argue that they had nothing to do with the submission of these falsified documents, the patent inconsistencies or irregularities should have alerted them and urged them to exercise more caution in the approval of the disbursement vouchers.”

She added that “respondents [exhibited] a deliberate lack of care or diligence in the performance of their respective duties in such a way as to achieve the common design of defrauding the government.”

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