Sandigan wants pork whistleblowers' bank records opened

Posted at 09/04/14 2:40 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan Fifth Divison wants the bank accounts of whistle-blowers in the pork barrel scam be presented in court.

The court issued on Wednesday copies of a subpoena to United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Banco De Oro Unibank Inc. (BDO), Metrobank Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Savings Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Citibank, ordering the presentation of the bank records of Benhur Luy, Gertrudes Luy, Merlina Sunas, and Marina Sula in court.

Representatives of the banks have been ordered to appear before the anti-graft court and submit the bank account transactions of the whistle-blowers within five days of the receipt of the subpoena.

The subpoena, signed by Fifth Division chairman Associate Justice Rolando Jurado and members Associate Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, were issued after the anti-graft court granted the motion of Janet Lim Napoles, a key player in the pork barrel scam, to have the bank records presented in court.

The Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division handles the plunder and graft cases of Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

A similar motion to subpoena the bank records of the whistle-blowers was earlier denied by the anti-graft court's First Division, citing the Bank Secrecy Law. The First Division handles the cases of Senator Ramon ''Bong'' Revilla Jr.

The Napoles camp referred to an ongoing forfeiture case by the Anti-Money Laundering Council at the Manila Regional Trial Court which alleges that these bank accounts are among those linked to the pork barrel scam.

The defense argued that since the issue of misappropriation of government funds and the pork barrel scam are intertwined, the accounts should be opened to uncover the truth. – reports from Adrian Ayalin and Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News; and Johnson Manabat, dzMM