MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Sandiganbayan First Division on Thursday denied multiple motions of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles subpoenaing whistleblower Benhur Luy’s bank and land records.
Instead, it granted the prosecution’s motion to quash the subpoenas.
“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 and/or Ad Testificandum, dated July 30, 2014 of Benhur Luy. [It also denies the] request for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum (Re: Additional Bank Accounts) dates August 1, 2014, of accused Janet Lim Napoles,” the decision, which was provided by the prosecution, read.
Napoles, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. are accused of plunder and graft in connection with the multibillion peso pork barrel scam allegedly ran by the businesswoman.
Napoles’ camp earlier subpoenaed the bank records of whistleblowers Merlina Suñas, Marina Sula, Benhur Luy and Luy’s parents Arthur and Gertrudes.
In a six-page resolution, the court said that Luy’s records are covered by the Bank Secrecy Law, and therefore cannot be summoned, unless the subpoena fulfills one of four conditions.
“Unless the Bank Secrecy Act is repealed or amended, the legal order is obliged to conserve the absolutely confidential nature of Philippine bank deposits, [except in cases of] written permission from the depositor, cases of impeachment, when the examination of bank accounts is upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation,” the motion said.
The resolution noted that none of the conditions for the release of bank records was justified by the defense team.
“None of the forgoing exceptions are present in this case. The monies deposited with the subpoenaed banks are not the subject matter of the action or litigation. [Instead] the subject matter of the present action is the amount of at least P224,512,500 allegedly accumulated by accused Revilla and Cambe in conspiracy with accused Napoles, Lim and de Asis, through a combination of overt criminal acts constituting plunder,” the motion said.
Ronald John Lim, a nephew of Napoles, and John Raymond de Asis, driver of Napoles, are both facing plunder as co-accused of the businesswoman and the senators in connection with the scam.
The Sandiganbayan First Division ordered five local banks to appear before the court and bring documents listed under the whistleblowers’ names, for Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr.’s bail hearings. But the prosecution blocked the order with a motion to quash, saying the defense has no right to order the bank records.
The whistleblowers’ bank accounts are listed under five different local banks, including BDO Unibank Inc., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Bank of the Philippine Islands, United Coconut Planters and Landbank of the Philippines, SOGOD and DECS branches. (MNS)