MANILA, Philippines – At present, the former coup plotter is neither a clear Aquino critic nor a supporter. Gringo Honasan was accused of planning to destablize the previous Arroyo government but his views on Corona and the Supreme Court are ambiguous.
He may, however, side with allies like his former boss Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
In 1995, Honasan became the first independent candidate in Philippine history to become senator. Although he ran as an independent, he joined the slate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition. He ran again as an independent candidate in 2001 but was part of the Puwersa ng Masa coalition led by former First Lady Luisa Estrada. Honasan also declared himself as independent in his 2007 senatorial bid.
Honasan served as aide-de-camp of then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile in 1974. A member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, the army colonel helped plot a mutiny against then President Ferdinand Marcos with the encouragement of Enrile, but the plan was foiled. This led to the Edsa Revolution and the ouster of Marcos in 1986.
During the presidency of Cory Aquino, Honasan led various unsuccessful coup attempts against her. President Fidel Ramos granted him amnesty in 1992.
In 2001, Honasan placed 13th in the senatorial elections. With the appointment of Sen. Teofisto Guingona Jr. as vice president after EDSA 2, the Commission on Elections decided that the 13th placer will serve the remainder of Guingona’s term. Honasan questioned the Comelec resolution removing him from the 12th slot in the 2001 elections, but the Supreme Court dismissed his petition.
In 2006, he became a fugitive after a court ordered his arrest for allegedly being the mastermind of the failed 2003 Oakwood mutiny. He was later captured and detained. In 2007, a Makati court dropped the coup d’etat case against him. Honasan was also accused of involvement in the February 2006 Marine standoff against Arroyo.
Education: Masters in Business Management, Asian Institute of Management; Philippine Military Academy (1971)
Current Term: 2007 to 2013
Political party: Independent
Honasan is part of the Enrile bloc. The Philippine Star reported that this bloc also includes Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Jinggoy Estrada.
Role in the Estrada impeachment trial :
Honasan was among 11 senators who voted against opening the second envelope allegedly containing incriminating evidence against then President Joseph Estrada. The 11-10 vote triggered a walkout of prosecutors and the People Power uprising that ousted Estrada.
Position aired or published on Corona or on issues related to the Articles of Impeachment:
In February 2010, Honasan was among 12 senators who signed a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate” that then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should not make midnight appointments in the judiciary, like choosing the next chief justice.
Before the SC issued the TRO, Honasan told the Philippine Star that the justice department should give former President Arroyo the benefit of the doubt and let her seek treatment abroad. He said that the DOJ should do this in the absence of proof that Arroyo was planning to escape.
Commenting on President Aquino and the impeachment trial, Honasan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “I hope he has a clear plan, where to bring all this in the long run.” Honasan said the impeachment trial will strengthen democracy and the Supreme Court. “I am also confident that down the road we will overcome this and our democracy will be stronger. We come out of this stronger but we have to go through this.” – Rappler.com
Sources: Senate website, Website of Sen. Honasan, GMA News, Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer