Ombudsman bars Revilla PDAF scam operators from govt. service
17 February 2017
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the dismissal from the service of 13 respondents in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam after they were found guilty of Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Dishonesty.
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 Corporation), 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 Corporation), and Rhodora Mendoza (Administrative and Finance Head, NABCOR). The dismissal order 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, et. al. are also being tried before the Sandiganbayan for their involvement in the anomalous utilization of the 2006 to 2010 PDAF of former Senator Ramon Revilla.
Investigation found that from 2006 to 2010, 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
P517,000,000.00 was released by the Department of Budget and Management as part of Revilla’s PDAF. After the fund release, Revilla identified the NABCOR, NLDC and TRC as implementing agencies. To facilitate the scam, Revilla authorized Cambe, a high-ranking staff member, “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 Senator Revilla.
Revilla also endorsed the following NGO as project partners: (1) Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc.; (2) Agricultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc.; (3) Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc.; (4) Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc. (PSDFI); and (5) Social Development Program for Farmer’s Foundation, Inc.
P517M 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.
Actual field validation conducted by the Ombudsman revealed that no deliveries were made to the supposed beneficiaries. Mayors and municipal agriculturists denied receiving any of the items from the office Senator Revilla, the implementing agencies or any of the NGOs.
The Commission on Audit observed that: (1) the NGOs that received the multi-million peso PDAF releases did not have the track record to implement the projects; (2) the selection of the NGOs, as well as the alleged procurement of goods for distribution of beneficiaries did not undergo public bidding; (3) the suppliers denied having dealt with any of the NGOs; and (4) the reported beneficiaries were unknown or could not be located at their given addresses.
In addition, the whistleblowers testified that “Revilla received total commissions, rebates or kickbacks amounting to at least
In the Decision approved on 27 January 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.”
According to Ombudsman Morales, “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.” ###