By Czarina Nicole Ong
The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) has denied the motion for reconsideration filed by former Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali to overthrow its earlier ruling finding him guilty of administrative charges in relation to the reportedly anomalous purchase of P15 million worth of liquid fertilizers and water pump.
“Respondents Aurelio M. Umali and Renato P. Manantan are hereby adjudged guilty of Grave Misconduct, Gross Negligence of Duty and Conduct of Pejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service for which they are meted the penalty of Dismissal from the Service with Forfeiture of all their Retirement Benefits and perpetual disqualification to re-enter government service,” read the Ombudsman decision dated Nov. 14, 2016.
Umali and his co-accused Manantan, Officer-in-Charge of the Regional Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture (DA), were faulted for conspiring with bogus foundations when Umali was still a congressman for the 3rd district of Nueva Ecija release of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) back in 2005.
Manantan stated in his motion for reconsideration that the charges against him are merely “speculative” since there is no proof he conspired with Umali.
He also claimed that his act of signing the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the NGOs is immaterial since it was only delegated to him by the DA Central Office.
On the other hand, Umali said in his MR that his only involvement in the utilization of funds was the endorsement of specific projects, and this does not automatically mean he violated the law.
Umali chose the Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (MAMFI) to distribute P12 million worth of liquid fertilizers while the Samahan ng mga Manininda ng Prutas sa Gabi Inc. (SMPGI) was chosen as the beneficiary of a water pump worth P3 million.