Honasan to be tried for pork misuse
Sen. Gregorio Honasan II was indicted in the Sandiganbayan on Tuesday in connection with the alleged misuse of P29.1 million of his pork barrel funds in 2012.
Ombudsman prosecutors charged Honasan with two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits to a private party.
The charges stemmed from alleged irregularities in the livelihood project implemented under the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), according to the Ombudsman media bureau.
Noncompliance of regulations
Investigation showed that Honasan endorsed Focus on Development Goals Foundation Inc. as the partner nongovernment organization (NGO) without complying with procurement regulations.
The check and disbursement voucher were already prepared on May 30, 2012, in favor of Focus, even before it was informed that it was qualified to take on the project on June 4 that year and the memorandum of agreement was signed.
The funds under the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), a pork barrel, were meant to finance small and medium enterprise and livelihood projects for Muslim Filipino communities in Metro Manila and Zambales province.
Also charged in the case were former NCMF Secretary Mehol Sadain, acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, Director III Galay Makalinggan, acting Chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang, cashier Olga Galido and Focus officers Giovanni Manuel Gaerlan and Salvador Gaerlan.
This issue arose from a Commission on Audit (COA) report in March 2014 concerning NCMF’s irregular transactions with dubious NGOs involving nearly P515 million in pork barrel allocations.
By that time, the PDAF had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Honasan also is facing a graft, malversation and direct bribery complaint for allegedly receiving P1.75 million in kickbacks in exchange for diverting his PDAF allocations to allegedly fraudulent NGOs controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
The Office of the Ombudsman also announced on Tuesday that it had evidence to indict former Leyte Rep. Eduardo Veloso for allegedly diverting P24.2 million of his PDAF funds to ghost projects under the now-defunct Technology Resource Center and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI) as partner NGO.
Officials of the district’s local government units denied having received any livelihood or development packages from Veloso or the NGO, according to the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman cited the COA report that AFPI had no financial capacity to take on the project as it only had a capital stock contribution of P68,000 and had declared a net loss of P5,840 for 2007.
Besides Veloso, also set to be indicted are TRC executives Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover, Francisco Figura and Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana.
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