Senator Gregorio Honasan II and nine others are seen to face graft charges for alleged involvement in the P29-1 million Priority Development Assistance (PDAF) scam.
Ths was learned as Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of charges against the senator for two counts of violation of the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.
The anti-graft body found that in April 2012, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the amount of P30 million as part of Honasan’s PDAF with the National Council of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) as implementing agency.
The fund was intended to finance small and medium enterprise/livelihood projects for the benefit of Muslim Filipinos in communities in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Zambales province.
Documents showed that in June 2012, Honasan indorsed Focus Development Goals Foundation, Inc. as non-government organization (NGO)-partner without the compliance on procurement regulations.
The Ombudsman itemized in its resolution approved on Sept. 21, 2016, that the check dated May 30, 2012 and disbursement voucher approving the payment were prepared by public respondents in favor of Focus even before
(1) the NGO was informed that it was found qualified to undertake the project on 04 June 2012;
(2) the MOA was signed by the Office of Senator Honasan, NCMF and Focus; and
(3) Honasan authorized the release of funds to Focus.”
Honasan, and his co-accused, facilitated and approved the payment in favor of Focus via two tranches totaling P29.1 million.
The senator failed to submit his counter-affidavit during the investigation.
“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,” Ombudsman Morales said.
Also facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan are Political Affairs/Project Coordinator Chief Michael Benjamin and NCMF executives, namely: Secretary Mehol Sadain, Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, Director III Galay Makalinggan, Chief Sania Busran, Acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and Cashier Olga Galido.
Focus officers included in the graft case are Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan and Salvador Gaerlan. (PNA / Perfecto T. Raymundo)