Honasan charged with graft over PDAF

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2017 04:29 PM

Vice presidential candidate Sen. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan during his guesting at DZMM's Halalan 2016 Special Ikaw na ba? on February 6, 2016. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Senator Gringo Honasan will face graft charges before the Sandiganbayan over the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Honasan is the 4th highest-ranking legislator to be charged in the PDAF scam after former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, and Ramon "Bong" Revilla. 

A probe by the Ombudsman showed that the Department of Budget and Management released P30 million as part of Honasan’s PDAF, with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos as the implementing agency, to non-government organization Focus Development Goals Foundation Inc. The funds were supposedly for livelihood projects for Muslim communities in the National Capital Region and Zambales. 

The Ombudsman said that based on documents from June 2012, Honasan endorsed Focus Development Goals Foundation Inc. without complying with procurement requirement.

A check and a disbursement voucher showed he facilitated the payment of two tranches amounting to P29.1 million. 

Among the Honasan's co-accused are his political affairs chief Michael Benjamin; National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Secretary Mehol Sadain; other NCMF officials Fedelina Aldanese, Galay Makalinggan, Aurora Aragon-Mabang, Olga Galido; and Focus Development Goals Foundation Inc. officers Giovannie Manuel Gaerlan and Salvador Gaerlan. 

Unlike the cases of the three former senators however, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles was not involved in Honasan's PDAF case. 

Honasan’s graft cases are expected to be raffled on Friday to determine which Sandiganbayan division will handle his case. 

His graft cases are bailable, unlike the supposedly non-bailable plunder cases of the three former senators. Of the three, Enrile was granted bail by the Supreme Court for humanitarian reasons. 

Last year, Honasan was also slapped with graft charges over his pork barrel funds for allegedly endorsing a non-government organization without following the procurement process.