MANILA — The Sandiganbayan First Division on Thursday junked the motion filed by the camp of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to subpoena the bank records of ‘pork barrel’ scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
In the resolution signed by Sandiganbayan First Division chairperson Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz and his Associate Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos, the court has granted the prosecution’s motion to quash on the petition filed by Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David that would subpoena various accounts under Luy’s name.
“Wherefore, in light of all the foregoing, the court resolves to grant the prosecution’s Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum/Ad Testificandum, dated July 30, 2014 and the urgent Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum/Ad Testificandum, dated July 30, 2014, of Benhur Luy,” the resolution stated.
Luy’s legal counsel Martin Antero earlier argued that his client is not the one involved in the plunder case and in the “interest of fairness and due process,” they have contested the subpoena previously issued by the court.
State prosecutor Joefferson Torribio backed Antero’s statement, since Luy is not the one accused in the case and “the defense is just fishing for evidence.”
Last July 24, at least four banking executives appeared in compliance with the subpoena issued by the first division against the bank accounts of Luy.
In compliance with the subpoena issued, bank representatives from Banco De Oro (BDO), Metrobank, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) appeared, but steadfast to block the opening of Luy bank records since they “want to know first what these specific documents are, covering a certain period, that would be relevant to the case and they need a more particular description of the documents that Napoles’ camp wants to unearth.”
David stressed the need to open Luy’s bank accounts after admitting being the Financial Officer of Napoles’ JLN Corporation and/or bogus non-government entities.
But David failed to address the challenge made by bank executives for him to identify the bank records that may lead to pork barrel transactions.
Napoles, together with Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, are the principal accused in the separate plunder and multiple counts of graft in connection with the alleged misuse of the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund.