THE Sandiganbayan’s Second Division has ordered the arrest of Sen. Gregorio Honasan 2nd and several others over graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged misuse of his P30 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in 2012.
Also ordered arrested were:
* then-political affairs chief and project coordinator Michael Benjamin;
* Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan and Salvador Gaerlan who were then-officers of Focus on Development Goals Foundation, Inc.;
* and then-National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) executives, namely: former secretary Mehol Sadain, former Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, then-Director III Galay Makalinggan, then-Acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and then-Cashier Olga Galido.
Sadain, Aldanese, Mabang, and Galido have posted bail. Honasan, Benjamin, Makalinggan, Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan, and Salvador Gaerlan have not.
In a statement, Honasan maintained that he was “completely innocent” of the charges against him.
“All my life I have fought everything I am accused of, and I will continue to do so,” Honasan said. He is currently chairman of the committee on national defense and security.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee on justice and human rights, vouched for Honasan’s integrity. “I know Sen. Gringo is upright.”
“But when you’re issued an arrest warrant, it doesn’t mean you’re guilty but that there is a probable cause. The court just wants you to be there to answer (the charges against you),” he said.
“I’m sure he will answer which charges in court. I think he will do that. I don’t think he will just blow or fly the hoof knowing him. I think in due time he will answer,” Gordon said in a phone interview.
In May 2014, alleged pork barrel fund mastermind, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, claimed that 20 incumbent and former senators benefited from the misuse of the legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
These were former Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon, Loi Estrada, Robert Jaworski, Ramon Magsaysay, Tessie Aquino-Oreta, and Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., Manuel “Manny” Villar, late senator Robert Barbers, and Alan Peter Cayetano, now secretary of Foreign Affairs.
The list also include incumbent Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Loren Legarda, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd, and Cynthia Villar.
Revilla and Estrada are currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center to face the charges while Enrile had been allowed to post bail.