Former senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s deputy chief of staff who is at large for plunder over the pork barrel scam was dismissed and perpetually barred from public office by the Ombudsman.
In a statement on Thursday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said she has ordered the dismissal from service of Pauline Labayen and 13 others who were found guilty of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and dishonesty.
Besides Labayen, the following were dismissed: Antonio Ortiz (Director General, Technology Resource Center (TRC)), Gondelina Amata (President, National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC)), Victor Roman Cacal (Paralegal, National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor)), Maria Niñez Guañizo (OIC-Accounting Division, Nabcor), Romulo Relevo (General Services Unit head), Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson (Chief Accountant, Nabcor), Rhodora Mendoza (Director, Financial Management Services, NABCOR), Dennis Cunanan (Director General, TRC), Evelyn Sucgang (Director Accounts Management and Development, NLDC), Chita Jalandoni (Department Manager III, NLDC), Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal (Director IV, NLDC), Marivic Jover (Chief Accountant, TRC) and Sofia Cruz (Project Development Assistant IV, NLDC).
In the event of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent’s salary for one year.
Labayen fled her plunder charge over her alleged involvement in the scam. She is accused of receiving Estrada’s alleged kickbacks from pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
The Ombudsman investigation showed that from 2007 to 2009, Estrada’s P278 million from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was coursed through the bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) linked to Napoles.
Estrada through Labayen then identified Nabcor, NLDC and TRC as implementing agencies and the following Napoles foundations as NGO partners: Masaganing Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. and Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc.
Estrada’s PDAF was purportedly used to be purchase livelihood materials, farm implements, livelihood kits in dressmaking, nail care, pickled fruits and veggies, jewelry-making, soap-making, barbering, silkscreen printing, aromatic candle making, wellness massage, cell phone repair, basic auto repair, food processing, among others.
Estrada allegedly identified the following provinces as project-beneficiaries: Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga Sibugay, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato, Batangas, Quezon, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Agusan Del Sur, Agusan Del Norte, Laguna, Tuguegarao, and Compostela Valley.
Field investigation by the Ombudsman showed that there were no deliveries of Estrada’s pork barrel projects.
Mayors and municipal agriculturists also denied receiving any of the items purchased with Estrada’s PDAF, the Ombudsman added.
The Ombudsman also said documents submitted by the NGOs such as disbursement, progress, accomplishment reports, fund utilization reports, delivery and inspection reports were all fabricated.
The NGOs which implemented the projects also had no track record to implement the projects, the Ombudsman said.
Estrada faces a plunder trial for allegedly receiving P183 million kickbacks from his PDAF, which was allegedly spent in ghost projects for kickbacks through the bogus foundations of accused mastermind Napoles.
He was denied bail, and remains in police custody with co-accused Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.
Another accused, the elderly Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, was allowed by the Supreme Court to post bail due to humanitarian considerations.
Estrada was also accused of 11 counts of graft for violating Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law for allegedly causing injury to government and giving undue preference to Napoles’ bogus foundations to implement his ghost pork barrel projects. IDL