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Honasan refuses to enter plea

By: Czarina Nicole O. Ong

Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II refused to enter a plea in the graft charges filed against him before the Sandiganbayan over the alleged misuse of his “pork barrel” funds, prompting the anti-graft court to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf during his arraignment yesterday.

Honasan’s lawyers attempted to defer his arraignment and have his graft charges dismissed but the Sandiganbayan Second Division junked his motions as they were filed late, enabling his arraignment to proceed.

The senator refused to enter a plea upon the advice of his lawyers.

Honasan – the fourth senator to face criminal charges at the Sandiganbayan because of the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund – is facing two counts of violating of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act 3019 for allegedly misusing P30 million of his PDAF in 2012, which was meant to help small and medium-scale livelihood projects for Muslim Filipinos in the National Capital Region and Zambales.