Sandiganbayan orders arrest of Honasan, 9 others over PDAF scam

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2017 02:29 PM | Updated as of Aug 10 2017 06:06 PM

Sen. Gringo Honasan File Photo

MANILA (UPDATE 2) - The Sandiganbayan 2nd Division has ordered the arrest of Sen. Gringo Honasan as it found probable cause in charges filed against him in relation to the multibillion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Honasan is facing two counts of graft for alleged irregularities in the disbursement of P30 million from Honasan's pork barrel funds in 2012. 

The charges are bailable at P30,000 per count, or P60,000 in total.

In a post on his official Twitter account, Honasan, a former rebel who has faced several cases, maintained innocence saying: "All my life I have fought everything I am accused of, and I will continue to do so."

The Sandiganbayan closed for the day without Honasan posting bail. The anti-graft court's sheriff said either the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group or the National Bureau of Investigation would serve the arrest warrant. 

Citing documents from June 2012, the Ombudsman said Honasan endorsed non-government organization Focus Development Goals Foundation Inc. for the fund release without complying with procurement requirements.

The budget department had released Honasan's PDAF, with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) as the implementing agency, for disbursement to the NGO supposedly for livelihood projects for Muslim communities in Metro Manila and Zambales. 

Aside from Honasan, the Sandiganbayan also ordered the arrest of his political affairs chief Michael Benjamin; NCMF Secretary Mehol Sadain; NCMF officials Fedelina Aldanese, Galay Makalinggan, Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and Olga Galido; and Focus Development Goals Foundation Inc. officers Giovannie Manuel Gaerlan and Salvador Gaerlan. 

Honasan is the fourth senator to be charged for his alleged role in the fund disbursement racket, first busted in 2013. 

Currently on trial for alleged involvement in the scheme are former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. 

The Supreme Court declared PDAF unconstitutional months after the controversy was first bared.