Sandigan orders AMLC: Release bank papers on Jinggoy’s subpoena
MANILA — The Sandiganbayan has denied the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s appeal against the subpoena for various bank documents sought by former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada to refute the pork barrel scam allegations against him.
In a four-page resolution dated June 13, the court’s Fifth Division affirmed its Feb. 21 resolution requiring it to release its reports on and memoranda on the financial transactions of alleged pork barrel scam architect Janet Lim-Napoles.
Estrada had requested “any and all AMLC memoranda” on Napoles’ transactions, as well as memoranda which the AMLC said involved “purely internal matters” on investigative techniques which were “immaterial and irrelevant” to his plunder case.
The court said it had already discussed and resolved the matter in favor of granting Estrada’s request for a subpoena duces tecum. Such issues which the court deemed already resolved include the possible indirect violation of confidentiality under Republic Act No. 9160.
The AMLC tried to argue that it would break the law if it released the covered transaction reports (CTRs) and suspicious transaction reports (STRs) related to Napoles’ transactions. (CTRs cover transactions exceeding P500,000 in a single day, while STRs involve those with red flags including disproportionate amounts that deviate from previous transactions and possibly arise from unlawful activity.)
Unmoved, the Sandiganbayan only passed upon the issue of whether the accused identified the requested documents with particularity as required by court rules. In this case, the court said Estrada was able to hurdle this requirement.
“The assailed subpoena duces tecum passed the definiteness test, as it calls for the production of specific documents,” the resolution noted.
It also said that lifting the subpoena would be akin to denying Estrada his “constitutional right to compulsory process to produce evidence in his behalf.”
“The need for the documents and his right to compulsory process outweigh the claims of the AMLC of confidentiality, irrelevancy, and generality, specially taking into account that the crime charges is
grave in character,” the resolution said.
Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega penned the resolution with the concurrence of Associate Justices Rafael R. Lagos and Reynaldo P. Cruz.
Estrada faces a plunder case for allegedly receiving P183.8 million in kickbacks in exchange for diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to fake foundations linked to Napoles. The actor-politician also faces 11 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. SFM
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