A division of the Sandiganbayan dismissed the graft cases filed against former senator Gregorio Honasan 2nd and several others in connection with the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocation totaling P29.1 million in 2012.
In a 52-page resolution, the court granted the demurrers to evidence filed by Honasan; Michael Benjamin who, at the time material to the case, was his political affairs chief/project coordinator; former National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) secretary Mehol Sadain; former NCMF Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese; then-NCMF Cashier 3rd Olga Galido; and Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan who was a then-officer of Focus on Development Goals Foundation, Inc. for the cases that were docketed as SB-17-CRM-1507 and SB-17-CRM-1508.
It also granted the demurrers to evidence filed by then-NCMF Director 3 Galay Makalinggan and Aurora Aragon-Mabang who was then-acting chief of the NCMF’s Management Audit Division for the case that was docketed as SB-17-CRM-1508.
The court said that “the evidence of the prosecution failed to sufficiently establish the essential elements of the crime charged and to overcome the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused. Accordingly, the cases against the accused are hereby dismissed.”
A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss challenging the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution during trial.