The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered on Monday, February 27 the dismissal from service of two staff of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and 10 others for their involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
The accused found guilty of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best Interest of the service, and dishonesty were as follows:
* Jessica Lucila Reyes, Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile
* Jose Antonio Evangelista II, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Enrile
* Victor Roman Cacal, Paralegal, National Agribusiness Corporation
* Gondelina Amata, President, National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC)
* Chita Jalandoni, Department Manager III, NLDC
* Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Director IV, NLDC
* Ofelia Ordoñez, Cashier, NLDC
* Filipina Rodriguez, Budget Officer, NLDC
* Sofia Cruz, Project Development Assistant IV
* Dennis Cunanan, Director General, Technology Resource Center (TRC)
* Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, Budget Officer, TRC
* Marivic Jover, Chief Accountant, TRC
“The dismissal order carries with it 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,” the Ombudsman said.
According to the Ombudsman, the 12 accused were being tried before the Sandiganbayan for their involvement in the anomalous utilization of the 2007 to 2009 PDAF of Enrile.
The Ombudsman said that from 2004 to 2010, former Senator Enrile endorsed the implementation of his PDAF-funded livelihood and agricultural production projects in different parts of the country to non-government organizations (NGOs) that were associated with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
The Ombudsman also said that from 2007 to 2009, a total of P345 million was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as part of Senator Enrile’s PDAF.
An amount of P517 million was allegedly used to buy tools and implements, financial grants and subsidies, technical assistance technology transfer through video courses (VCDs), printed materials, vegetable seeds, hand tools, gloves, masks, vests, caps, garden tools, knapsack sprayers, fertilizer, gardening packages, rakes, agricultural livelihood packages, agricultural chemicals, and small scale agri-packages.
An investigation 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 Enrile, the implementing agencies or any of the NGOs,” the Ombudsman said.
“Based on testimonial and documentary evidence presented, the widespread misuse of the PDAF allotted to a legislator was coursed through a complex scheme basically involving projects supposed to have been funded by said PDAF which turned out to be inexistent or ghost projects, the Ombudsman added.