Saturday, September 21, 2019

Ombud sacks 5 TRC officials over pork barrel scam

FIVE officials of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) were dismissed from the service on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam, the Office of the Ombudsman said.

The officials are TRC Deputy Director General Dennis Cunanan, Chief Accountant Marivic Jover, Budget Officer IV Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, Sales and Promotion Officer V Belina Concepcion and Internal Auditor V Maurine Dimaranan.

All were found guilty by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Apart from dismissal, the officials were also slapped with accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and from taking the civil service examination.

The TRC executives were allegedly involved in alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations of former Representatives Alvin Sandoval (Malabon-Navotas), Anthony Miranda (Isabela), and Constantino Jaraula (Cagayan de Oro City).

In a resolution, Morales said that Cunanan and others “facilitated, processed and approved the illegal disbursement of public funds” that were allegedly orchestrated by Sandoval, Jaraula and Miranda.

Morales said that their investigation uncovered irregularities such as “lack of public bidding in the procurement of projects, lack of due diligence and audit in checking the track record and financial capability of the selected non-government organizations, acceptance of fabricated liquidation reports, list of recipients/beneficiaries, inspection reports, progress reports and other PDAF-related documents.”

Sandoval, Miranda and Jaraula are currently facing criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan for the anomalous utilization of their PDAF.

Sandoval allegedly misused P30 million of his PDAF allocation from 2007 to 2009.

Covered by three Special Allotment Release Orders, the funds were released to TRC as the implementing agency and channeled to Dr. Rodolfo A. Ignacio Sr. Foundation Inc. (DRAISFI), Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc. (PFI) and Jacinto Castel Borja Foundation, Inc. (JCBFI) – NGOs expressly identified by Sandoval.

DRAISFI and PFI both received P5 million each while JCBFI received P20 million.

Jaraula is facing malversation, graft and direct bribery cases in connection with the anomalous utilization of his PDAF amounting to P50.5 million from 2004 to 2007.

The money was supposed to be used for financial and technical assistance through video courses and printed materials with Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (CARED) as NGO-partner.

Earlier, pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy said Jaraula received at least P20.8 million as kickback for choosing the bogus foundation linked to detained businesswoman Janet Napoles.

The Commission on Audit special audit findings also disclosed that the projects were never implemented in Cagayan de Oro.

Miranda, on the other hand, was charged with graft and malversation for allegedly diverting P20.06 million to an NGO he established. (Sunnex)

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