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13 accused in PDAF scam ordered dismissed

The 13 accused in the Priority Development fund Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam was ordered dismissed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales after they were found guilty of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and dishonesty.
Those who were ordered dismissed were Director III Richard Cambe, Dennis Cunanan (director general, Technology Resource Center), Marivic Jover (chief accountant, TRC), Consuelo Lilian Espiritu (budget officer, TRC), Gondelina Amata (president, National Livelihood Development Corp.), Gregoria Buenaventura (NLDC), Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal (director IV, NLDC), Sofia Cruz (project development officer IV, NLDC), Chita Jalandoni (director IV, NLDC), Ofelia Ordoñez (chief budget specialist, NLDC), Evelyn Sucgang (NLDC), Victor Roman Cacal (general services supervisor, National Agribusiness Corp.), and Rhodora Mendoza (administrative and finance head, Nabcor).
The dismissal order also carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of all retirement benefits. In the event of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent’s salary for one year.
Cambe, the former chief of staff of former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and the others are also being tried before the Sandiganbayan for their involvement in the anomalous utilization of the 2006 to 2010 PDAF of Revilla.
From 2006 and 2010, according to investigation showed, Revilla, as senator, continuously endorsed the implementation of his PDAF-funded livelihood and agricultural production projects in different parts of the country to questionable non-government organizations (NGOs) associated with or controlled by Janet Lim Napoles.
From 2007 to 2009, a total of P517,000,000 was released by the Department of Budget and Management as part of Revilla’s PDAF.
The implementing agencies that were identified by Revilla include Nabcor, NLDC and TRC as implementing agencies.
Cambe, based on the investigation, was authorized by Revilla “to act for him, deal with, and sign documents necessary for the immediate and timely implementation of the PDAF-funded projects.” Several memoranda of agreement were signed by Cambe, representing the office of Revilla.
The non-governmental organizations endorsed by Revilla as project partners are Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc.; Agricultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc.; Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc.; Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI); and Social Development Program for Farmer’s Foundation Inc.
The multimillion-peso fund was allegedly used to buy livelihood materials, farm implements, starter kits, manuals, power sprayers, agricultural production kits, knapsacks, liquid fertilizers, gardening tools, soil, conditioner, gloves, ponchos, shovels, pick mattocks, seeds, trainings and agricultural chemicals.
But field investigation conducted by the Ombudsman showed that no deliveries were made to the supposed beneficiaries. Mayors and municipal agriculturists denied receiving any of the items from the office of the senator, the implementing agencies or any of the NGOs.
The Commission on Audit also said that the NGOs that received the multimillion-peso PDAF releases did not have the track record to implement the projects; the selection of the NGOs, as well as the alleged procurement of goods for distribution of beneficiaries did  not undergo public bidding; the suppliers denied having dealt with any of the NGOs; and the reported beneficiaries were unknown or could not be located at their given addresses.
Based on the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Revilla received total commissions, rebates or kickbacks amounting to at least P224,512,500.
In the decision approved on January 27, 2017, the Ombudsman highlighted “the extraordinary speed attendant to the examination, processing and approval by the concerned Nabcor, NLDC and TRC officers of the PDAF releases to the Napoles-affiliated or -controlled NGOs.”
Morales said, “in most instances, the disbursement vouchers (DV) were accomplished, signed and approved on the same day. Certainly, the required careful examination of the transaction’s supporting documents could not have taken place if the DV was processed and approved in one day.”

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