SENATORIAL CANDIDATE
33. HONASAN, GRINGO
INDEPENDENT

Gringo Honasan, 74, is a retired soldier, revolutionary and politician. He most recently served as secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology secretary from 2019 to 2021.

Honasan also successfully ran for Senate in 1995, 2001, 2007 and in 2013.

He has carried the label of destabilizer ever since the 1980s when he first emerged on the national stage as one of the young leaders of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement whose withdrawal of support from the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos played a key role in the success of the people-led uprising in 1986.

In the 1990s, Honasan led several military revolts against the Corazon Aquino administration. He was captured and charged with rebellion, escaped with his guards, and was later granted amnesty by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1992.

Together with fellow senators, Honasan led the EDSA III protests in support of deposed President Joseph Estrada and condemnation of the latter’s arrest, effectively ending in the May 1, 2011 storming of Malacañang Palace.

He was also implicated in the 2004 Oakwood and 2006 marine mutinies against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In 2007, coup d'etat charges against him were dropped.

Under Honosan's watch, the Commission on Audit flagged in its annual 2020 report that the DICT "was not able to maximize the utilization of the appropriations and allotments which may adversely affect its delivery of services to the public especially in this time of pandemic."

Honasan vied for the vice presidency in 2016 alongside presidential aspirant Jejomar Binay but they both lost.

He is part of the Senate slates of the administration-backed PDP-Laban and the tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Although Honasan was part of the movement that ousted Marcos, he is also part of the slate of the late dictator's son and namesake who is seeking the presidency alongside the incumbent president's daughter Sara Duterte.

Honasan opposes the legalization of divorce, same-sex marriage, the death penalty and voted against the reproductive health law when it was being debated in the Senate. He supports imposing higher penalties for cyber libel and the passage of the freedom of information bill.

Platform and Policy
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The candidate's top priorities if elected to office, tracked against previous promises and accomplishments, if any

Select a policy profile below to view more details
 
Digital transformation
 
Anti-corruption
 
Build, Build, Build
Related Policy Proposal:
  1. Increase the budget for digital connectivity, by attaching digital connectivity with other more tangible infrastructure projects that people respond more to
  2. Connect the government those who are farthest, poorest and smallest members of the nation
Previous Platform:
Track Record / Accomplishment; Date:
Served as DICT secretary from 2019 to 2021, and oversaw several national projects to improve internet connectivity, among others
Faced some controversies during his tenure
Deviation from Previous Platform:
Related Policy Proposal:
Previous Platform:
In 2016, he vowed that he and Binay would go after criminals and those involved in corruption, even while he and running mate Binay were were struck with allegations of anomalous activities as senator and Makati Mayor, respectively
Track Record / Accomplishment; Date:


Led RAM to oppose corruption during Martial Law; suspected but cleared of coup attempts against the Arroyo administration over alleged corruption in government and the military

Sponsored the Freedom of Information bill in the 15th Congress

In the National Recovery Program he released in 2003, he proposed to have customs and internal revenue processes computerized, and a cleansing of current top officers in both offices be done to give a “fresh start” to meritorious replacements appointed

Called for more transparency in the military’s procurement process and additional budget for modernization
Deviation from Previous Platform:
Related Policy Proposal:
Previous Platform:
In 2016, he proposed to generate rural employment through labor-intensive infrastructure projects like farm-to-market roads, and irrigation facilities
Track Record / Accomplishment; Date:
Served as DICT secretary from 2019 to 2021, and oversaw several national projects to improve internet connectivity, among others
Faced some controversies during his tenure
Deviation from Previous Platform:
Major Accomplishments
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The candidate's top five accomplishments and contributions for the last 15 years or so


Public Office


A veteran lawmaker, Honsan has served four terms as senator. Available legislative records on the Senate website show that he principally authored at least seven laws, authored some 53 others and sponsored at least 12.


He principally authored laws increasing the monthly old-age pension of senior veterans and increasing the base pay of military and uniformed personnel in government, the Anti-Hazing Law and the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act of 2017. He was also the principal sponsor of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Extension with Reforms Law.


Honason promoted national security policy, the freedom of information or People’s Ownership of Government Information Bill and a proposed Mini Marshall Plan for peace and development in Mindanao.


After the end of his second re-election term in 2019, he formally assumed office as DICT secretary, after facing questions about his qualifications for the position which requires at least seven years of competence and expertise in a number of scientific and technological fields.


As DICT secretary, Honasan oversaw the continued implementation of the National Broadband Plan, the Free WiFi program, cybersecurity and the national government portal. He also regularized the majority of the DICT workforce. However, during his tenure, the COA reported that the DICT failed to spend P5.78 billion of its budget for 2020, including P2.94 billion allocated for the implementation of key programs seeking to improve internet connectivity.


"[It] appears that the Department was not able to maximize the utilization of the appropriations and allotments which may adversely affect its delivery of services to the public especially in this time of pandemic where the DICT is in the frontline of government’s response against the COVID-19 and when most employees are working at home and students are attending classes online,” COA said in its annual 2020 report."


Honasan has also faced several other expenditure-related controversies. He was charged and ordered arrested for two counts of graft relating to the alleged misuse of about P29.1 million worth of pork barrel funds; he surrendered and posted bail. The Sandiganbayan dismissed the charges in 2021, citing weak evidence presented by the prosecution.


In January 2020, the COA flagged DICT for directing about P300 million pesos of unspent funds to the intelligence and confidential funds via cash advances under Honasan’s orders in 2019, in violation of rules on confidential funds and causing underperformance of the department’s mandate on cybersecurity in 2019, according to DICT’s internal auditors. No charges were filed in relation to such COA finding, but senators called for more oversight of the intelligence fund allocation of government agencies as well as further investigations.


In Oct. 2020, Honasan noted that the DICT will stop confidential spending in 2021 and refrained from requesting such allocation for its 2021 budget, following the controversy over its use in 2019, He admitted that the P800 million previously earmarked for confidential spending in the 2020 budget had been withdrawn.


Legislative achievements

R.A. 11037, or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act
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Position/Date
Principal author, 2018
Status
Approved by the president on Jun. 20, 2018
R. A. 11053, or the Anti-Hazing Law of 2018
Read More
Position/Date
Principal author, 2018
Status
Approved by the president on Jun. 29, 2018
R.A. 1164, or an Act Increasing the Monthly Old-age Pension of Senior Veterans
Read More
Position/Date
Sole principal author and sponsor, 2018
Status
Approved by the president on Dec. 20, 2018
Senate Joint Resolution 11, Increasing the Base Pay of Military and Uniformed Personnel in the Government
Read More
Position/Date
Sponsor, 2017
Status
Approved by the president on Jan. 1, 2018
R.A. 9700, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law of 2009
Read More
Position/Date
Author and sponsor, 2008
Status
Approved by the president on Aug. 7, 2009

Executive department achievements

COVID-19 response
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  1. Engaged in inter-agency initiatives to support the government’s COVID-19 response, such as overseeing the operation of the Vaccine Information Management System that serves as the key processing and analytics systems for COVID-19 immunization in the country, as well as the DICT Vaccine Administration System
  2. Spearheaded the development of the VaxCertPH portal to ensure that Filipinos can benefit from the speedy issuance of digital and uniform vaccine certifications.
Position/Date
DICT secretary, 2019 - 2021
Status
In its 2020 annual audit report on the DICT, COA noted that out of the total agency budget of P7.46 billion, only 76% or P5.64 billion was obligated as of year-end 2020, leaving a P1.82 billion balance. Further, of the obligated amount, only 29.76% or P1.68 billion was actually disbursed, resulting in P3.96 billion unpaid obligations. Such failure to maximize the utilization of funds may have adversely affected key DICT’s delivery of services to the public especially needed during the 1st year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the internet connectivity programs with very low fund disbursement rates were the Free WiFi Connectivity in Public Places, National Broadband Plan, National Government Portal, National Government Data Center Infrastructure and ICT Industry and Countryside Development.
Phase 1 of the National Fiber Backbone
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The DICT and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority agreed on the deployment of the Phase 1 of the National Fiber Backbone of the NBP
Position/Date
DICT secretary, 2019 - 2021
Status
In a budget hearing in Nov. 2021, it was noted that Regions I, III, the NCR and parts of Region II would get higher internet speeds once Phase 1 is completed by February 2022, at 200 Mpbs speed. DICT had reportedly finished installing international cable landing stations in Baler, Aurora and in San Fernando, La Union; once completed, fiber internet will flow from Los Angeles, California towards the Philippines.

Phases 2 and 3 may cost around P16 billion, targeted for completion by 2025, but budget cuts have been made by the Department of Budget and Management..
Free Wi-Fi for All Program
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DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program achieved a 500% increase in its rollout rate in 2020, and there are now 11,203 Free Wi-Fi sites installed in the country, as of Oct. 1 2021, according to the DICT website
Position/Date
DICT secretary, 2019 - 2021
Status

On Jan. 12, 2022, the committee on good government of the House of Representatives recommended the filing of graft charges against then-DICT acting secretary Rio in relation to the government’s P1.3 billion Free WiFi program, finding him “negligent” in entering into agreements with the United Nations Development Program and poor implementation of the project.

In May 2021, the Philippine government notified Speedcast, the foreign contractor hired to install free WiFi sites nationwide, about the termination of the agreement and a demand for the return of funds - only around 10,000 out of targeted 120,000 sites had been installed.

Honasan also reported that DICT has requested UNDP for the return of the funds given to it, as the DICT will handle the project on its own.
Fixed broadband speed
Read More
The DICT website notes that there has been an Increase in the Philippines’ fixed broadband speed, to 63rd out of 180 countries, and in our mobile internet speed, to 73rd of 140 countries, according to the Global Index
Position/Date
DICT secretary, 2019 - 2021
Status

According to the summary provided by Freedom House (a US-based organization monitoring and reporting on the level of freedom of every country in the world, including Freedom on the Net reports), the Philippines ranked:
• 60th out of 100 countries in terms of internet availability (Inclusive Internet Index 2021 report, written by the Economist Intelligence Unit)
• 18th out of 27 Asian nations, due to the weak market for wireless network operators and the country’s outdated broadband infrastructure
• 79th out of 100 surveyed countries in terms of affordability (Inclusive Internet Index 2021 report)
• 37th out of 72 countries surveyed, nine points down the previous year ( 2020 Affordability Report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet)
• 39th in the national cyber security index and 61st in the global security index as of Mar. 8, 2021 (International Telecommunications Union, an organ of the UN)
Regularization
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Strengthened human resource pool and internal organization by regularizing majority of its workforce, increasing the plantilla positions from 300, or about 30% of the office, to 899 appointed plantilla positions or 75% filled up, at the end of September 2021, per the DICT website
Position/Date
DICT secretary, 2019 - 2021
Status
Actions and/or Proceedings
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Actions and/or proceedings pending against or resolved in courts or tribunals involving the candidate, based on publicly available information


Resolved Actions and/or Proceedings

Subject Matter Relevant Dates Accrued Liability Status
Two counts of graft

Charged in relation to the alleged misuse of about P29.1 million worth of livelihood and enterprise projects for Muslim communities in the NCR and Zambales given to a questionable NGO and the National Council of Muslim Filipinos in 2012
Pork barrel allocations - 2012

Office of the Ombudsman files charges before the Sandiganbayan - Aug, 1, 2017

Warrants of arrest were issued - Aug. 10, 2017

Honasan surrendered and posted a total of P60,000 as bail - Aug. 12, 2017
Sandiganbayan dismissed the graft cases in Jan. 2021, citing insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution
Rebellion

Charged in relation to Feb, 24-26 2006 Marine mutiny and standoff at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City against the Arroyo administration
NBI filed charges before the DOJ - Oct. 2006

Honasan became a fugitive to evade arrest - 2006
Coup d/etat

Charged in relation to Honasan’s alleged involvement in the Oakwood mutiny
Oakwood mutiny - July 27, 2003

Charges filed before the Makati Regional Trial Court - Feb. 24, 2006

Warrants of arrest issued (non-bailable) - Mar. 1, 2006

Honasan became a fugitive to evade arrest - 2006
Case dismissed by the lower court after government prosecutors filed a motion to withdraw the charges citing lack of evidence
Rebellion

Charged in relation to meeting held with Juan Ponce Enrile in Dec. 1, 1989, leading to the bloody coup d’etat attempt later that month
December 1989 - coup d'etat attempt Amnesty granted under Proclamation No. 347, series of 1997, issues by President Ramos on Mar. 25, 1994
Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth
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Also known as SALN, this document is a declaration of one's personal finances. Philippine Law requires the SALN to be submitted by all public officials and employees to the Ombudsman. Public officials and employees may opt to voluntarily disclose their SALN to the public.

Assets
P37.1 million
Liabilities
P4.6 million
Net Worth
P32.5 million

* As of Dec. 31, 2020

Campaign Details
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Key details about the candidate's campaign

Campaign Manager:

Alliances and Endorsements:

  1. Included in the PDP-Laban (Cusi faction) slate
  2. Added to the senatorial slate of the tandem of Senators Lacson and Sotto
  3. Added to the UniTeam alliance of the Ferdinand Marcos-Sara Duterte tandem

Party History:
Independent, 1995 (but joined the Nationalist People’s Coalition slate); 2001 (But made part of the Puwersa ng Masa coalition); 2007
United Nationalist Alliance
2013 and 2016 election
Independent
2021-present
Major Donors
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Candidate's major donors and campaign funding sources

There is no publicly available information on this matter at this time. Requested information from the candidate was not provided.
Major Advocacies
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The candidate's top advocacies in the last 15 years or so

 
Freedom of Information
 
Military reform and anti-corruption
Freedom of Information
Supported the passage of the People’s Ownership of Government Information Act

Co-author of Senate Bill 1733 or the People’s Freedom of Information Act of 2012

Position/Date:
As senator, since 2012

Status:
President Duterte signed Executive Order 02, or the Executive Order on Freedom of Information on July 23, 2016
Military reform and anti-corruption
  1. Among the leaders of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement in the 1980s, which planned and promoted the ousted of the late dictator Marcos and triggered the events of EDSA I
  2. Led several unsuccessful coup attempts against President Corazon Aquino in the late 1980s
  3. Involved in the Oakwood mutiny of 2004 and the February 2006 mutiny and standoff in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City against the Arroyo administration
Position/Date:
  1. As army colonel, 1986
  2. As head of a special group in the defense ministry, 1987-1989
  3. As senator and private citizen, 2004-2006

Status:
  1. Unsuccessful coup plot to out Marcos led to EDSA I
  2. Granted amnesty in 1994
  3. Coup d’etat charges dismissed in 2007
Personal Details
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Basic information on the candidate's family, background and work experience

Name to appear on the ballot: HONASAN, GRINGO
Full Name: Gregorio Ballesteros Honasan II
Birthdate: Mar. 14, 1948 (74 years old as of election day)
Birthplace: Baguio City, Benguet
Residence:
Religion:
Languages Spoken: Filipino; English
Parents:
  • Romeo Honasan, father, colonel

  • Alice Ballesteros, mother, teacher
Siblings:

Six siblings, including Alya Honasan, journalist

Marital Status: Married, Jane Umali Honasan, medical technologist
Children: Five children, including:
  • Martin Honasan
  • Klarina “Kuki” Honasan Ulpindo
  • Kai Honasan
Education:

• Master’s Degree, Asian Institute of Management, 1981

• Bachelor of Science, Philippine Military Academy, 1971

Work Experience:

• Secretary, Department of Information and Communications Technology, July 2019 - October 2021

• Acting Majority Floor Leader, Senate of the Philippines, 2013

• Senator, Senate of the Philippines, 1995 - 2001; 2001-2004; 2007-2013; 2013-2019

• Commandant of Special Operations School, Philippine Army Training Command, 1986-1987

• Colonel, Philippine Army, 1983

• Aide-de-camp of then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, 1974 - 1980s

Appendix
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Learn more about this candidate

Major Accomplishment

Public Office

R.A. 10592
Read More
an act amending various articles of the Revised Penal Code (Preventive Suspension)
Position/Date
Principal author, 2011
Status
Approved by the president on May. 29, 2013
R.A. 10159, or an act amending Art. 39 of the RPC (Subsidiary Imprisonment)
Read More
Position/Date
Principal author, 2011
Status
Approved by the president on Apr. 11, 2012
R.A. 10586, or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2012
Read More
Position/Date
Sponsor, 2012
Status
Approved by the president on May 27, 2013