THE former director of the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police and three of his men are facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman over their alleged failure to release nearly P59 million worth of Daily Additional Subsistence Allowance or ASA to SAF commandos for 16 months starting February 2016, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
Named as respondents in the case forwarded to the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Law Enforcement Office last week were Director Benjamin M. Lusad, currently the director of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Southern Luzon; former PNP-SAF budget officer Senior Superintendent Andre P. Dizon; and PNP-SAF Finance Sergeants, Senior Police Officer 2 Maila S. Bustamante and Senior Police Officer 1 Jack James R. Irica.
The complaint was forwarded to the Ombudsman by a group of SAF officers led by a retired PNP-SAF commander Director Moro Virgilio M. Lazo, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1984 who retired on November 27 last year.
Lazo was joined by 12 active SAF officers in filing the complaint.
Lusad, of PMA Class 1985, replaced Lazo at the PNP-SAF on July 1, 2016. In turn, Lusad was replaced by former SAF deputy now Director Noli G. Taliño, also of PMA Class 1984.
The complaint sheet, a copy of which acquired by the Journal Group from Ombudsman sources, said the complainants accused the respondents of committing plunder or malversation of public funds and grave misconduct for their failure to give the P30 per day ASA or a total of P900 a month to more or less 4,000 uniformed personnel of the PNP-SAF.
The ASA is usually being distributed to its recipients every quarter of the year.
The complainants said during the stint of Lusad as PNP-SAF director from July 2016 to January this year, the ASA recipients only received their ASA for the months of January 2016 and January to July 2017 only.
The complainants said they did not receive their ASA for the months of February to December 2016 and August to December 2017.
The complainants said the ASA of SAF personnel for the months of February to December 2016 and August to December 2017 totaled P58,849,590, based on copies of Notices of Cash Allocations and Notices of Fund Allocation for the missing months.
GEN. DELA ROSA REACTS
Outgoing PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa yesterday said that the case is already the subject of an Ombudsman investigation and that he would give the accused the chance to explain their side.
“I felt bad after hearing the story but the matter has been forwarded already to the Ombudsman. Mahirap ipre-judge ang tao but let’s hear the side of the accused. I’m sure they have an explanation. To the PNP-SAF, they will receive what is due them, relax lang sila,” the PNP chief said.