WATCH | Sandigan thumbs down Honasan’s plea to junk P29-M graft raps

October 31, 2017 - 11:35 PM
File photo of Sen. Gringo Honasan. Senate PRIB/Edward Ganal

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan Second Division has thumbed down Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan’s plea for the court to reconsider its Sept. 22, 2017 decision to dismiss the two counts of graft that the Office of the Ombudsman filed against the lawmaker in relation to the alleged misuse of P29.1 million worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“After a careful study, the court finds that movant’s motion for reconsideration is devoid of merit. The court correctly read and interpreted movant’s motion as one for judicial determination or re-determination of probable cause,” read the anti-graft court’s six-page Oct. 27, 2017 resolution penned by Associate Justice Oscar C. Herrera Jr. and concurred in by associate justices Michael Frederick L. Musngi and Lorifel L. Pahimna.

Last August, the ombudsman accused Honasan of allegedly not complying with procurement regulations when the lawmaker in June 2012 endorsed Focus Development Goals Foundation, Inc. as a non-government organization partner and authorized the released of his PDAF to the organization in two tranches, amounting to P29.1 million.

According to the ombudsman, a check dated May 30, 2012 and disbursement voucher approving the payment were prepared in favor of Focus even before the organization was informed that it was qualified to undertake a project to finance small and medium enterprise and livelihood activities for Muslim Filipinos in Metro Manila and Zambales.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said, “the repeated illegal transfers of public funds to the NGO, resulted in the quantifiable, pecuniary losses to the government, thus constituting undue injury within the context of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019,” or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Honasan denied committing graft.

“I am completely innocent of the charges against me. All my life I have fought everything I am accused of, and I will continue to do so,” the senator earlier said.