MANILA - National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR) former president Alan Javellana, an accused in the graft cases pending with the Sandiganbayan in connection with the "pork barrel" scam, has formally opposed the Office of the Ombudsman's plea for the creation of special divisions to hear the "pork" cases.
In a 3-page comment filed with the Supreme Court (SC), Javellana accused the anti-graft office of making the request based on a "political whim or a desire to pander to the crowd."
Javellana said the Ombudsman failed to present any justifiable reason for its plea.
"The Ombudsman failed to show why these cases are more important than others. Is it because the cases involve congressional pork barrel allocations? There are many more cases concerning congressional pork barrel allocations pending in both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan. Why should the this set of cases be segregated and tried by Special Divisions? Is it because the cases involve senators and congressmen? Are they more important than past presidents, a current vice-president or a former chief justice?" the comment read.
Javellana said all individuals charged before the anti-graft court -- whether they be "lowly government employees charged with similar crimes" or high officials -- should receive the same treatment.
He also stressed that the anti-graft court should be left to operate on its own rules on the assignment of divisions.
Javellana said weight should be given to the Sandiganbayan's formal opposition to the plea.
In a separate comment, the Sandiganbayan said the Ombudsman's plea should be thumbed down in the interest of fair play, and so that other cases pending before its divisions will not be affected.
Accused Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada have also filed their individual comments urging the high court to junk the request.