Sen. Gregorio Honasan 2nd has refused to enter any plea over the graft charges filed against him and several other individuals in connection with the alleged misuse of his priority development assistance fund or pork barrel allocation amounting to P29.1 million in 2012.
Thus, the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division, during Honasan’s arraignment on Friday, entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf as provided under the rules.
The other defendants pleaded not guilty, except for Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan, who was unable to attend.
In August, the Office of the Ombudsman filed the cases against the senator and several others. The first case involved P27 million and the second case involved P2.1 million.
Named respondents along with Honasan in the first case were Michael Benjamin, who was his political affairs chief and former project coordinator at the time material to the case; former National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Mehol Sadain; former NCMF Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese; former Cashier Olga Galidod; and Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan and Salvador Gaerlan, who were former officers of Focus on Development Goals Foundation, Inc.
Honasan, Benjamin, Sadain, Aldanese, Galido, Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan, and Salvador Gaerlan were named respondents in the second case along with Galay Makalinggan, who was then-NCMF Director III, and Aurora Aragon-Mabang, who was acting chief of the NCMF’s Management Audit Division at the time material to the case.
The Sandiganbayan’s Second Division earlier found basis to proceed with the trial. The pre-trial of the cases is scheduled on October 20.
All the respondents are out on bail.
Also on Friday, Police Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta pleaded not guilty to the graft charges he is facing before the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division along with several other individuals in connection with the alleged anomalous issuance of firearm licenses for AK47 rifles from August 2011 to April 2013.
Supt. Nelson Bautista also pleaded not guilty to the graft cases he is facing, while Chief Insp. Ricardo Zapata Jr. pleaded not guilty to one count of graft.
In 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman charged with graft a number of individuals who were then police officials.
These were Police Director Gil Meneses of the Civil Security Group, Director Napoleon Estilles of the Firearms and Explosives Office, Chief Supt. Tomas Rentoy 3rd, Chief Supt. Regino Catiis, Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, Senior Supt. Allan Parreño and Chief Insp. Ricky Sumalde.
Senior Police Officers 1 Eric Tan and Randy de Sesto, non-uniformed personnel Nora Pirote and Sol Bargan, and Isidro Lozada of Caraga Security Agency were also included in the case.