Ombudsman, Sandigan justice feuding over ‘pork’ case | Inquirer News
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Ombudsman, Sandigan justice feuding over ‘pork’ case

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 06:45 AM July 25, 2015

A feud is brewing between two of the highest female justice officials of the land.

Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang on Friday took potshots at Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for blaming the antigraft court for the supposed delay in the resolution of cases stemming from the P10-billion pork barrel racket.

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At the bail hearing of suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, a visibly irate Tang told prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman that the court was offended by insinuations that it was stalling the disposition of criminal cases related to the purported misuse of several lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the official name of the congressional pork barrel.

The presiding justice said the three-member Third Division, which she also chairs, issued a resolution setting 12 additional hearing dates for Napoles’ petition for bail until next month.

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“The court has been accused of delaying this case. We take exception to that,” said Tang.

“The court does not want to be accused of causing delay (in the resolution of cases),” she told the government prosecutors and Napoles’ counsels.

Tang made the remark after Dennis Buenaventura, one of Napoles’ lawyers, asked the court to terminate the cross-examination of primary whistle-blower Benhur Luy some 30 minutes before the scheduled three-hour proceeding was supposed to end.

Buenaventura said they wanted to prepare the summing up of their questions in connection with the contents of Luy’s external hard drive, pointing out that the prosecution’s main evidence was very critical to their client’s case.

Associate Justice Samuel Martires joined Tang in protesting what he said was an apparent attempt of the Ombudsman to make the justices a “scapegoat” for the snail-paced proceedings.

While they did not name her, the two justices were obviously referring to Morales, who washed her hands off in the slow progress of PDAF scam-related cases in the Sandiganbayan during an interview with a television network last week.

“Whatever the reasons your bosses have, please do not use this court… as scapegoat in the delay of the bail hearings,” Martires told the Ombudsman prosecutors.

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“It’s always the court which is being blamed. What your bosses don’t know is that the prosecution also had other cases to attend to and the defense is also studying their case. Please tell your bosses that we are willing to listen even if we’re already tired of listening,” he continued.

The sharp-tongued Martires then told the prosecutors to invite their superiors to attend the proceedings of criminal cases related to the multibillion-peso fund scam.

“I think they should know this… unless your bosses have never set foot in court,” he said.

The 15-member, five-division Sandiganbayan is handling plunder, graft, malversation and direct bribery cases against three senators, five former congressmen and dozens of other public officials and private individuals implicated in the country’s worst corruption scandal.

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TAGS: Conchita Carpio-Morales, Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, Ombudsman, Pork barrel, Pork Case, Sandiganbayan
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