MANILA, Philippines – Senator Gregorio Honasan II on Friday morning, August 11, posted bail for two counts of graft in connection with the pork barrel scam, but not at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan but in Biñan, Laguna.
Honasan went to the Biñan City Police Station where he “voluntarily surrendered and [was] subsequently arrested” at 7:30 am on Friday, according to a report from the Laguna Provincial Police Office (PPO).
The senator underwent booking procedures at the police station.
Cops accompanied Honasan to the Biñan Regional Trial Court (RTC). After posting bail of P60,000 or P30,000 for each count of graft, Branch 25 Judge Teodoro Solis issued the release order for the senator.
Documents and the bail money will be transferred to the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division, which handles the graft cases against Honasan.
The arrest warrant was issued by Sandiganbayan on Thursday. Information from sources say Honasan was set to post his bail that day, but the courts closed Thursday without the senator posting bail.
Sandiganbayan Chief Sherriff Albert dela Cruz said the ball was turned over to the arresting teams tasked to serve the warrant – the Criminal Investigation Detection Group and the National Bureau of Investigation – but no arrest was made on Thursday.
Under Section 14, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the accused may deposit his bail to “the nearest collector or internal revenue or provincial, city, or municipal treasurer.” But this should comply with Section 2 of the same provision which says, “the accused shall appear before the proper court.”
According to instructions found on the back of arrest warrants issued by the Sandiganbayan, Honasan and other defendants with cases pending before the anti-graft court cannot post bail before Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.
The same instructions state that RTCs inside the National Capital Region (NCR) are not authorized to process the bail bonds of Sandiganbayan defendants.
Honasan appeared before a Regional Trial Court (RTC) outside the NCR.
The Sandiganbayan’s 2nd Division received the transmittal documents before 2 pm Friday. Rappler reached out to Honasan’s lawyer, Dennis Manalo, but he has not responded as of posting.
Honasan faces two counts of graft for alleged violation of procurement rules when he funneled P30 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to a non-governmental organization that the Commission on Audit wanted blacklisted from government transactions.
Honasan is the 4th Senator charged in relation to the pork barrel scam, after former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. – With reports from Camille Elemia and Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com