Honasan laments trial by publicity in ‘ridiculous’ pork barrel scam raps
Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan III on Tuesday lamented the trial by publicity and lack of due process he faced when he was sued for malversation before the Ombudsman over the alleged pork barrel scam.
In an ambush interview during the Pandesal forum at Kamuning Bakery Cafe, the opposition’s vice presidential bet said he found the malversation and graft charges ridiculous, saying the amount of kickbacks he allegedly received from accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles is not even enough to buy a low-end SUV.
“I do not just deny it. It is ridiculous. Yung halagang imputed to me, I could have passed the hat to my closest friends, and I could have gotten more. It’s not even the cost of a low-end SUV,” Honasan said.
Honasan is part of the third batch of pork barrel scam complaint filed before the Ombudsman by the Department of Justice.
Honasan is sued for malversation, graft and bribery for allegedly receiving P1.75 million kickbacks according to the financial records of whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Honasan said he would not risk his extensive experience as soldier, former rebel, and senator just to earn P1.75 million in the scam.
“Do you think I would risk my 17 years as soldier, seven years as rebel, and 18 years as senator, the name my grandfather passed on to me, for that amount?” Honasan said.
READ: Honasan, Villanueva, 7 others face raps over pork barrel scam
Besides leading the military in toppling the Marcos dictatorship that escalated into the peaceful 1986 Edsa revolt, Honasan also led a series of failed coup attempts against the administration of then President Cory Aquino. Honasan is also said to have planned the deadliest coup attempt in Dec. 1989 when soldiers tried to attack Malacañang.
In 2006, Honasan went into hiding after he was charged for rebellion for being the alleged ringleader in the July 27, 2003 Oakwood mutiny, as well as for his involvement in the foiled coup attempt against the Arroyo administration in February 2006 which prompted Arroyo to declare a national state of emergency.
His coup d’etat charges have been dismissed in 2007, just a few months after he won as senator in the May midterm elections.
Honasan said the trial by publicity that resulted in the malversation complaint against him even implicated his family.
“Mabuti kung trial by publicity, ako lang. Eh ‘yung mga anak ko, yung mga anak ng mga fino-front page at nilalagay sa 6 o’clock news. Paano sila? They go to school traumatized, ‘yung tatay mo pala nagnakaw. Have you ever heard anyone say sorry?” Honasan said.
(It would have been enough if it’s just trial by publicity. But I have children, they are put on the front page and in the 6 o’clock news. How about them? They go to school traumatized, your father is a thief. Have you ever heard anyone say sorry?)
He said the Department of Justice did not accord him due process when it filed the malversation complaint against him.
“That’s not even due process. The information was transmitted to the Ombudsman, and that’s where we’re at,” Honasan said.
Honasan said he would push for the freedom of information law to prevent trial by publicity.
“That’s why enthusiastic ako sa (I’m enthusiastic about the) FOI because of this propensity to try and convict people and their reputation by publicity. Hindi naman tama ‘yun (That’s just not right),” Honasan said.
Honasan faces a malversation and graft complaint with Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) Secretary Joel Villanueva, La Union Representative Victor Ortega, Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing, incumbent Abono Representative and former Pangasinan Representative Conrado Estrella III, former Abono Representative Robert Raymund Estrella, former La Union Representative Manuel Ortega and former Zamboanga Representative Isidoro Real Jr.
READ: Binay, Honasan unfazed; file COCs amid corruption charges
Honasan is the running mate of the opposition presidential bet Jejomar Binay, who himself faces graft indictment before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly rigging the procurement for the design and construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, deemed the country’s priciest car park building, when he was Makati mayor. CDG
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