Brod Teng Catong, thank you for bringing this to my attention. By way of airing my side, here are my comments:
The Inquirer strikes again. In its internet edition today it came out with two (yes two) articles on the same topic of an administrative resolution issued by the Ombudsman on the PDAF of Senator Honasan, to stress it seems that I and other officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos have been found guilty of grave misconduct and deserve to be dismissed from the service with all its attendant accessory penalties.
I should not be dignifying these charges and instead just face them before the proper judicial forums, were it not for the fact that the articles are designed to cast aspersion on our character and integrity without even airing our side. Written today, the two articles talk of a case written by the Graft Investigators of the Ombudsman on August 9, 2016 and approved by the Ombudsman herself on November 21, 2016. In other words, this is a repeat news and I really do not know why this is being resurrected today. To deflect some more damaging developments that some of the current officials are being indicted with a non-bailable offense of large scale estafa on the Haj Passport scam perhaps?
This repeat or rehashed news would like to make it appear that we defrauded the government of the PDAF funds of Senator Honasan by allowing the endorsed NGO, Focus, to implement the projects (6 of them fully implemented and liquidated) without going through a public bidding.
We have explained in our position paper which the Ombudsman never considered in its decision that bidding was impossible because the NCA or cash allotment lapsed every end of the month, hence, it was simply too short to prepare and complete a public bidding. Even a negotiated procurement would usually take 45 days. Second, procuring an NGO for the projects do not involve submitting the lowest proposal because the amount of the project is already determined at the Legislator's and DBM's level. Hence, it is simply to assure that the NGO chosen is legitimate and capable of undertaking the project. What we did in NCMF, given the time constraint, was to accredit the NGO by asking it to submit 14 documents to prove its legal existence and capability to do the project, which it did. In other words, the requirements of the public bid was substantially complied with by the accreditation process. And as proof that the NGO was capable, it implemented the 6 projects and liquidated the expenses with complete documentation required by COA. I do not see how this can be grave misconduct.
The news article also highlights what the Ombudsman did not consider in our position paper. That the check was made on May 30, 2012 even before the MOA was signed early June of the same year. What the Ombudsman did not consider were proofs that the accreditation papers of the NGO were already with NCMF a full month before May 30, the project was awarded by the NCMF Banc before May 30, and the only remaining requirement was the endorsement of the legislator of the NGO, which requirement we added to the accreditation papers. In the meantime, after May 30 the NCA was going to lapse again as it had already lapsed end of April. This was the reason why the check was already prepared with all documents already in, and only the endorsement was needed for the MOA signing. More importantly, what the Ombudsman did not mention in its resolution is that even if the check was dated May 30, it was not released until June 7 or after the endorsement and MOA were already in. Again, we do not see any grave misconduct here, because such acts were not attended by intent to defraud or any high degree of malice.
In spite these factual evidence, the Ombudsman remained blind to the truth we submitted to them and seemed bent on indicting and finding us guilty of all charges. It is a pity that the Ombudsman chooses to decide administrative cases only on the basis of paper submissions and does not go into full blown administrative hearings, but when it decides the case, it does not only publicize its non-final decision, but wants it immediately executed in spite the presence of a motion for reconsideration and the appeal to the Court of Appeals. Such punitive stand by the Ombudsman, immediate and merciless as it is, comes out of an in investigation for probable cause. But while the criminal aspect goes to the Sandiganbayan for a full blown trial, the punitive consequences of the administrative aspect are immediately executory. It is, however clear that when the Ombudsman makes such an administrative decision, it is the complainant, investigator and judge at the same time. Is this just?
Be that as it may, the Inquirer true to form, has taken up the story, more than a month after the decision came out. I am not privy to the games these people play. I can only come out with the truth.
This may not be a proper procedure in this case, but in Muslim courts we have the sacred oath called Yameen where a Muslim litigant takes an oath over the Holy Qur'an to attest to the truth of his position. Muslims do not take this oath lightly because it entails lying to GOD before the Qur'an if one is not telling the truth, and there are grave consequences to this.
In a move similar to this, I am almost tempted to challenge the Ombudsman and her graft investigators for us to take a solemn oath before our respective Holy Books that we are telling and interpreting the truth in the facts before us.
More specifically, if they really believe what they are saying in their decision, will they be willing to take an oath before the Holy Bible and before GOD that I and my companions committed fraud and took money, and therefore committed graft and grave misconduct when we entered into the PDAF MOA of Sen. Honasan?
Because I can take that oath before the Holy Qur'an and GOD anytime, as I have in my private moments done that already.