SENATOR Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan expressed surprise and saddened after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the filing of two counts of graft charges against him and nine others over the alleged Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
He said he was puzzled because he did nothing wrong with his PDAF and all with this transactions are all above board.
“Puzzled, malungkot dahil alam ko naman ang aking ginawa at wala naman akong ginagawang labag sa batas. Sumusunod ako sa batas,” said Honasan.
He is set to face two counts of graft for violations of Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“Yes dumaan sa proseso naman lahat. Sa ngayon, may tiwala ako sa proseso, ’yun lang ‘di lang maalis na magtaka at malungkot. Pero nagtitiwala ako sa proseso na lalabas ang katotohanan at mataas ang kumpiyansa ko na wala akong nilabag na batas, sinunod ko naman ang regulasyon.”
The Ombudsman said the Department of Budget and Management in April 2012 released P30 million of Honasan’s PDAF to the National Council of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) as implementing agency.
The fund was meant to finance small and medium enterprise/livelihood projects for Muslim Filipinos in communities in the National Capital Region and Zambales.
Documents showed that Honasan in June 2012 endorsed Focus Development Goals Foundation, Inc. as non-government organization (NGO)-partner without complying with procurement regulations.
In its September 12 resolution, the Ombudsman said that the check dated May 30, 2012 and disbursement voucher approving the payment were prepared in favor of Focus even before the NGO was informed that it was qualified to undertake the project.
The check was also signed before the memorandum of agreement was signed by the Office of Senator Honasan, the NCMF and Focus.
The Ombudsman said Honasan authorized the release of funds to Focus, when he approved the payment in favor of Focus in two tranches amounting to P29.1 million.
Honasan did not submit his counter-affidavit during the investigation, the Ombudsman said.