Ombudsman files two counts of graft vs Honasan, 8 others for alleged involvement in PDAF
The Office of the Ombudsman filed two counts of graft before Sandiganbayan against Sen. Gregorio Honasan II and eight others for alleged involvement in the P29.1 million priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
The Ombudsman lodged two counts of graft against Honasan and Political Affairs/Project Coordinator Chief Michael Benjamin and National Council of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) executives, namely: Secretary Mehol Sadain, Acting Chief Accountant
Fedelina Aldanese, Director III Galay Makalinggan, Acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and Cashier Olga Galido, it said Tuesday.
Officials of a non-government organization partner, Focus Development Goals Foundation, Inc., named Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan and Salvador Gaerlan were included in the charges.
In April 2012, the Ombudsman found the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P29.1 million as part of Honasan’s PDAF with the NCMF as implementing agency.
The prosecution said 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.
According to the Ombudsman, documents showed in June 2012, Honasan allegedly endorsed Focus Development Goals Foundation, Inc. without the benefit of compliance with procurement regulations.
The prosecution said 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 (memorandum of agreement) was signed by the Office of Senator Honasan, NCMF and Focus; and (3) Honasan authorized the release of funds to
Honasan, et.al. facilitated and approved the payment in favor of Focus via two tranches totaling P29.1 million, the Ombudsman said.
Despite issuance of an order, the prosecution said Honasan 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,” said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. DMS