CA sets aside dismissal of NCMF cashier over misuse of Honasan’s pork

The Court of Appeals (CA) has set aside the dismissal of an National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) cashier implicated in the misuse of Senator Gringo Honasan’s P29.1-million pork barrel funds in 2012.

In a recent 15-page decision, the CA 9th Division granted Olga Galido’s petition for the reversal of the Ombudsman’s August 9, 2016 ruling finding her guilty of the administrative offenses of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The court held Galido in good faith for signing the checks for the payment of the funds to Focus on Development Goals Foundation, Inc.

It said the cashier’s duties to prepare and review the checks were ministerial, and the tasks were not up to Galido’s discretion.

The court noted that Galido merely relied on then-NCMF Secretary Mehol Sadain’s approval of the payment, then-Finance and Management Services Director Galay Makalinggan’s certification that the expenditures were lawful, and then-chief accountant Fedelina Aldanese’s certification that the supporting documents were complete.

“When she signed the checks as co-signatory, she has, in good faith, performed her duty by verifying the completeness of the signatures in the disbursement vouchers, reviewing the amount of the check against that indicated in the disbursement vouchers, and ultimately signing the said checks,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Cruz.

The case arose from the lack of public bidding in the selection of Focus as the partner non-government organization (NGO) for the livelihood projects funded by Honasan’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) proceeds and implemented through the NCMF.

One of the questioned checks was dated May 30, 2012, days before Focus was even informed of its selection as the NGO-partner on June 4 that year.

Criminal charges for two counts of graft are currently pending before the Sandiganbayan against Galido, Honasan, Sadain, Makalinggan and Aldanese, as well as acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang and Focus officers Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan and Salvador Gaerlan.

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