Sandiganbayan pre-marks as evidence the ‘Benhur Luy’ files
MANILA, Philippines–The Sandiganbayan first division on Thursday allowed to pre-mark as evidence the so-called “Benhur Luy” files saved in a white hard drive, used as the basis of the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its reports detailing the alleged financial transactions of accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles with dozens of lawmakers over the pork barrel scam.
The prosecutors presented to the court the hard drive during the bail hearing of detained accused Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. Present for the hearing was principal whistleblower Benhur Luy, who was Napoles’ entrusted finance officer.
The hard drive, contents of which were published on INQUIRER.net, contains all the documents pertaining to the financial transactions of Napoles with lawmakers and other officials from 2006 to 2012. These include JLN Corp.’s daily transactions, Luy’s financial ledger, and memoranda of agreement, among others.
Luy said he had all his files transferred from his old Windows PC to his new Mac computer.
He then made another back-up of the files of Mac computer to the hard drive, which he said he marked with the initials “B.L.”. and with his signature.
Luy said he bought the hard drive and saved the files in 2012, or the time the NBI was already investigating him over the scam.
Luy said he gave the hard drive to the NBI Cybercrime Investigation unit.
The defense seemed shocked that the government prosecutors presented the hard drive as evidence even though they had not pre-marked it for the case before.
The newest member of the prosecution, Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, said surprising the defense is part of the prosecution’s “strategy.”
Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David said under the rules, the court should not allow evidence to be pre-marked that was not earlier included.
He said he is confused why the court allowed it.
Revilla’s lawyer Joel Bodegon refused to comment, but said the defense objected because the hard drive was bought outside the period of alleged transactions as indicated in the case information.
Michael Ancheta, lawyer of Revilla’s aide Richard Cambe, said the evidence in the hard drive is inadmissible for being a hearsay because the files were transferred from the Windows PC to the Mac by another Napoles’ employee, Rolando Galay, also an accused for graft.
Besides the hard drive, the prosecutors also want pre-marked print-outs of the daily transactions and financial ledgers as saved in the hard drive.
Luy said he printed out these files. He brought the hundreds of pages of files to the witness stand in a bulging backpack.
The court would then allow the defense to cross-examine Luy in the afternoon session.
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