Sunday, March 12, 2017

Provincial administrator reprimanded for failing to reply to letters

Provincial administrator reprimanded for failing to reply to letters 
10 March 2017

Atty. Premolito Plaza, the Provincial Administrator of Surigao Del Norte, was reprimanded by the Office of the Ombudsman for failing to reply to the letters of a certain Benjie Ruperto Latras, a provincial employee reassigned to the Sta. Monica District Hospital.

According to the complaint, Latras wrote Plaza on 08 June 2015 requesting relief from property accountability of the properties under his custody prior to his reassignment to the district hospital.  A follow-up letter was made on 21 November 2015, however, both letters were ignored.

"There is substantial evidence to prove that Plaza failed to respond to complainant's letters. His contention, without other corroborating evidence, that he verbally advised complainant on the procedure of turning over the properties under his charge, is without merit," read the Decision.

The Decision also added that "by failing to act on complainant's letters-request, respondent Plaza unjustifiably failed to attend to one who wanted to avail himself of the services of the provincial office."

Under Section 5(a) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713), it is the duty of public officials to "act promptly on letters and requests within 15 working days from receipt thereof, respond to letters, telegrams or other means of communications sent by the public.  The reply must contain the action taken on the request. 

Ombudsman dismisses five executives for P3.8M PDAF scam

Ombudsman dismisses five executives for P3.8M PDAF scam 

          The Office of the Ombudsman is not letting up on its investigation into the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.  Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the dismissal and perpetual disqualification from holding public office of five executives of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).  Found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service are Secretary/Commissioner Mehol Sadain, Director III Galay Makalinggan, Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, Acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and Cashier Olga Galido. 

            In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent's one year salary.

           The NCMF officials 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 Maguindanao Representative Simeon Datumanong.

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

        Upon audit, the Commission on Audit 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.

           In its Decision, Ombudsman Morales ruled that "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."  She added 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."

       To support the charges, the Ombudsman said that 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."

       This is the second set of PDAF charges filed against Sadain. In September 2016, Sadain was charged alongside Senator Gregorio Honasan II for the anomalous utilization of Honasan's P30million PDAF.