MANILA – San Beda Graduate College of Law dean Ranhillo Aquino on Thursday said technicalities could jeopardize the plunder case against senators linked to the pork barrel scam.
Aquino said the Office of the Ombusdman may have committed a mistake by not giving Senator Jinggoy Estrada, one of the accused in the alleged plunder of pork barrel funds, several documents pertinent to the case.
In a 29-page petition for certiorari filed on Wednesday, Senator Estrada urged the Supreme Court to annul the Ombudsman's findings for violating his right to due process and his right to be properly apprised of the charges against him.
Estrada, who has been charged for allegedly pocketing P183.79 million in kickbacks and commissions from businesswoman and alleged scam brains Janet Lim Napoles for allocating portions of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into bogus NGOs, claimed that the anti-graft office, despite his formal request, "refused" to furnish him copies of "affidavits, documents, and other papers submitted in its preliminary investigations" into the plunder case.
In an order dated March 27, 2014, the Ombudsman denied Estrada's plea for copies of the affidavits of Ruby Tuason and Dennis Cunanan; counter-affidavits of Gondelina Amata and Mario Relampagos; consolidated reply of public complainant National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), if one has been filed; and affidavit/counter-affidavits/pleadings/filings by the other respondents and/or additional witnesses for the complainants.
Reacting to Estrada's move, Aquino told dzMM, ''I am really wondering why the Ombudsman did not do that. It's not a matter of 'pagbigyan.' It's a matter of complying with the rules."
Radio dzMM, 8 May 2014