Ombudsman seeks suspension of Honasan for & # 39; pork & # 39; raps
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) – August 26, 2018 – 12:00
MANILA, Philippines – Prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman have urged the Sandiganbayan to order the preventive suspension of Sen. Gregorio Honasan II, who is faced with transplant cases for his alleged abuse of P30 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in 2012.
"The suspicion is that, unless the accused is suspended, he can frustrate his prosecution or commit further acts of crime or both can do," said the prosecution of the ombudsman in his motion filed with the Second Division of the anti-graft court on July 31, a copy of which was released to the media in the weekend.
Honasan faces two counts of violation of Republic Act (RA) 3019 for the Second Division or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Prosecution has said that according to Article 13 of RA 3019, the suspension of a sitting officer is "mandatory" if he is accused of a valid violation of RA 3019, Book II Title 7 of the Revised Criminal Code, or of any violation of fraud with government money or government money.
"It is now regulated that Section 13 of (RA) 3019 obliges the Sandigan Bayan to suspend (Honasan)," said the Prosecution, referring to an earlier Supreme Court ruling.
The Prosecution also emphasized that the preventive suspension is not a sanction "but a procedural aspect of criminal cases" that must be imposed by the courts because it is "mandatory" in nature.
The Second Division still has to decide on the motion.
Saved by the Ombudsman in August last year, the graft cases against Honasan stemmed from the alleged abuse of P30 million from his PDAF for the presumed execution of his programs & # 39; s and projects for Muslim Filipinos in Metro Manila and Zambales.
The Ombudsman said Honasan "unilaterally chose and supported" the non-governmental organization Focus on Development Goals Foundation Inc. to be the executor of the projects, without the benefit of a public bid required under RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The Ombudsman said that Honasan and his co-accused officials of the National Council on Islamic Filipinos (NCMF) would instead enter into a private tender with Focus "(absent) an Allocation Act or Ordinance" for such a method of tender.
Based on the Ombudsman's report, a total of P30 million Honasan & # 39; s PDAF was released by the budget and management department to NCMF in April 2012 as the executive agency for the life-support projects.
The Ombudsman said that the surveyed NCMF officials made the payment of a total of P29.1 million, in two installments, to Focus & # 39; with unusual accommodation and rush & # 39; processed.
Named as Honasan's co-accused in cases were his political affairs and project coordinator Michael Benjamin, NCMF director Galay Makalinggan, acting head Aurora Aragon-Mabang, secretary Mehol Sadain, acting chief accountant Fedelina Aldanese and cashier Olga Galido.
Salvador Gaerlan, president of Focus, was also mentioned in the cases as a private respondent.
Honasan was tried on 22 September last year and refused to submit a plea. The Second Division, in turn, made a non-guilty plea on its behalf, in accordance with the Rules.
All other respondents have argued "not guilty".