CA affirms dismissal of ex-solon’s staff head in pork barrel mess

CA affirms dismissal of ex-solon’s staff head in pork barrel mess

MANILA – The Court of Appeals (CA) turned down the appeal of a former chief of staff of a lawmaker in the House of Representatives seeking to void her dismissal over alleged anomalies in the use of pork barrel funds in 2007.

In a decision dated Nov. 5 and made public on Tuesday, the appellate court’s Special Sixteenth Division denied the petition for review filed by Hiram Diday Pulido and affirmed the dismissal order of the Office of the Ombudsman against her for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Pulido, the former chief of staff of the late Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Herminio Teves, was ordered dismissed from the service for her part in a PHP10-million project to be funded by the fourth tranche of the allocated Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The project was to be implemented by the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) and a non-government organization (NGO) Molugan Foundation Inc. (MFI).

As of July 2015, however, the Commission on Audit Special Audit Office (COA-SAO) reported that liquidation documents have not been submitted and in October 2015. A notice of disallowance was issued by the COA against the transaction.

Among other things, the COA said the transfer of funds to MFI was devoid of any legal basis and said TLRC failed to diligently exercise its duty to verify the legitimacy and capability of MFI.

It also noted that MFI was “a dubious NGO considering that it was incorporated only in 2007”.

Pulido was subsequently charged by the Ombudsman which ruled that she participated in the scheme by signing the project proposal making her privy to the transaction.

“We find that the evidence on record overwhelmingly establishes her administrative liability. Accordingly, these findings of fact are conclusive and binding on us,” the court said. (PNA)

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