Sandiganbayan allows Honasan to file demurrer in P29M pork scam case

The Sandiganbayan has allowed former Senator Gregorio Honasan II and his coaccused to file their demurrers challenging the sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence in their P29.1-million pork barrel scam case.

In a recent 7-page resolution, the court’s 2nd Division said: “After a judicious review of the pleadings of the parties, the Court resolves to grant the motions filed by accused-movants.”

The resolution, penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna, gave Honasan and his coaccused 10 days from receipt to file their demurrers to show that the prosecution’s evidence would not be enough to convict them even if they did not counter it with evidence in their defense.

Honasan was accused of endorsing Focus on Development Goals Foundation, Inc., as the partner non-government organization (NGO) for his livelihood projects without complying with procurement regulations.

The check and disbursement voucher were already prepared on May 30, 2012, even before Focus was informed on June 4 that it was selected to take on the project implemented under the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

In seeking permission to file the demurrer, Honasan said the prosecution’s evidence should be placed under “severe testing” and should be scrutinized regardless of his evidentiary defenses.

Former NCMF Secretary Mehol Sadain, director Galay Makalinggan and acting chief Aurora Aragon-Mabang argued that the absence of public bidding in the selection of the NGO was justifiable.

Former acting chief accountant Fedelina Aldanese argued that there was no evidence of a conspiracy among Honasan, the NCMF officials and the representatives of Focus. Meanwhile, cashier Olga Galido zeroed in on the fact that she was not a member of the bids and awards committee.

Despite the corruption allegations, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Honasan as Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), after the latter finished his stint as senator in July 2019.

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