Sandigan orders access to Benhur Luy hard drive; Napoles lawyers rejoice | Inquirer News
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Sandigan orders access to Benhur Luy hard drive; Napoles lawyers rejoice

/ 02:49 PM June 19, 2015

The Sandiganbayan on Friday ordered the printing and submission of all the files contained in Benhur Luy’s external hard drive to assure the court that prosecutors are not ‘‘protecting’’ personalities involved in the pork barrel scam.

The order was issued by Associate Justice Samuel Martires of the anti-graft court’s Third Division during accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles’ bail hearing from the plunder case filed against Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

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Martires directed the prosecution to furnish the court the documents contained in the drive pertaining to transactions with lawmakers allegedly to rake in kickbacks.

His two colleagues, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez posed no objections.

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During the hearing, principal whistleblower Luy told the court that he made a back-up of the files after the office of JLN Corp. switched to Mac computers from PC. This prompted Martires to issue his order.

“I am requiring you to produce all the contents of the hard drive… It is the obligation of the court to ferret out the truth to be able to see the entirety of the document. It is easy to come up with data and put it on the computer. We want to see that hard (drive) unless the prosecution is hiding something from this court,” Martires said.

“If you’re protecting some personalities, then you’re being selective in prosecuting those involved. Is it good in a democracy to be selective in prosecuting cases?” Martires added.

The defense panels had been fighting to pry into the said hard drive, now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), to check the veracity of the files.

But the First and Fifth Divisions hearing the plunder cases of Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada had denied the requests, saying the unwarranted “fishing” expedition may violate the rights of the accused.

The hard drive contained draft endorsement letters and memoranda of agreement, daily disbursement records, Luy’s financial ledgers, among other documents pertaining to lawmakers who were clients of Napoles in the alleged scheme of spending Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks.

Napoles’ counsels thanked the court for the opportunity to finally look into what came to be known as the Benhur Luy files, portions of which were uploaded on INQUIRER.net.

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“We’re glad that we’ll have the opportunity to see the contents of the hard drive,” Atty. Dennis Buenaventura told the court.

Prosecutor Atty. Edwin Gomez interjected that they had been opposing access to the entire contents of the hard drive because it contained files involving names of other lawmakers subject to the investigation of the Ombudsman.

Gomez cited the investigation over the alleged Malampaya fund scam, where farmer storm victims were deprived of P900 million in aid sourced from the government royalties in the Palawan plant because these were pilfered to the bogus foundations of Napoles.

“We limited the production of documents to those lawmakers whose cases are already filed,” Gomez said.

Luy also objected to access because the drive contained some of his personal files.

After the hearing, Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David rejoiced over the access to Luy’s external hard drive, saying Napoles’ camp could check the contents of the drive to that of the Mac computer supposed to have been the source of the backed up files.

He confirmed that Napoles still have the said Mac computers.

“Gusto namin macheck lahat ng contents to check the veracity (of the files).. Gusto namin banggain ang authenticity (ng hard drive),” David said.

Luy, Napoles’ entrusted finance officer, turned his back against his employer after the NBI rescued him from detention by Napoles over suspicions that he was starting his own scam.

Napoles is serving a life sentence after a court convicted her for detaining Luy for three months.

The hearings on the pork barrel scam have resulted in the detention for plunder of Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, as well as former representatives Rizalina Seachon Lanete and Edgar Valdez. AU

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TAGS: Associate Justice Samuel Martires, Benhur Luy, external hard drive, Janet Lim Napoles, pork barrel scam, Sandiganbayan
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