SC bans ex-Marine Corps commandant from gov’t over scheme to pocket P37M clothing allowance

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the dismissal of former Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) commandant Major General Renato Miranda in connection with a scheme to pocket the P36.77-million clothing allowances meant for enlisted personnel.

In a recent 16-page decision, the SC 2nd Division reversed the Court of Appeals’ (CA) July 30, 2014 decision to overrule Miranda’s dismissal by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (ODO-MOLEO).

The SC reinstated the ODO-MOLEO’s February 27, 2009 decision finding Miranda guilty of the administrative offenses of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.

This meant he would be permanently disqualified from reemployment in the government and would lose his retirement benefits.

The case concerned the Combat Clothing Allowance and Individual Equipment Allowance (CCIE) released by the PMC for its enlisted personnel in April 2000. Each employee was supposed to get P14,719.05.

MOLEO field investigators discovered through random sampling that some PMC personnel never received the allowance and their signatures in the payrolls were forged.

As a colonel at the time, Miranda authorized his fellow respondent, Major Adelo Jandayan, to receive the CCIE funds even if the latter was not the duly authorized disbursing officer.

The SC said his action was “truly indispensable” for allowing Jandayan and other officers to misappropriate and lose the public funds, which remained unaccounted for.

“It is indubitable that Maj. Jandayan came into the picture only when respondent out of nowhere and without any valid designation or authority possessed by Maj. Jandayan suddenly brought the latter in as recipient and disburser of the funds,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier.

It noted that Miranda never produced Jandayan’s authority and refuted this allegation. It questioned why Miranda could not explain why he named Jandayan as the trustee of the funds 12 times.

“Respondent’s disturbing silence on the singular cause of his indictment could only be inferred as an implied admission of the veracity of these accusations,” the decision stated.

In an attempt to show the allowances were not misappropriated, Miranda presented receipts from clothing and equipment suppliers who were supposedly paid using CCIE funds.

The SC said it was “not persuaded,” because the receipts were only produced when the respondents already faced charges for the ghost disbursements.

“The lie becomes more evident considering that per official records, the intended beneficiaries were supposed to receive cash and not anything in kind like clothing or equipment supplies,” the SC noted.

Miranda was also charged with graft and malversation before the Sandiganbayan.

He was removed from the military service in 2006 for his alleged involvement in a coup d’etat plot that prompted former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to place the country under a state of national emergency.

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