MANILA - The Sandiganbayan First Division denied Thursday the petitions of alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to subpoena bank records of pork scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy and several others.
The documents were supposed to be used by the defense in the cross-examination of prosecution witness Luy in the ongoing bail hearing for the plunder case of Napoles, Senator Bong Revilla and Atty Richard Cambe.
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.
The Napoles camp also filed petitions to subpoena the bank records of Arthur Luy, Gertrudes Luy, Marina Sula and Merlina Sunas.
The prosecution filed a motion to quash the subpoena, arguing that this violates the provisions of the Bank Secrecy Law.
It said the defense's move to open bank accounts of Luy and others does not fall upon the legitimate exemptions provided by the law to do such, which are 1) upon the written permission of depositor; 2) in cases of impeachment; 3) in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials and 4) money is subject matter of litigation.
In the six-page resolution, the anti-graft court agreed with the arguments of the prosecution.
The court contended that the witness' bank records are not the subject of litigation but the P224.5 million allegedly obtained by the suspects of the pork barrel scam.
"The truth about the 224,512,500 pesos subject of this plunder case on one hand, and that of the bank accounts of the witnesses, subject matter of forfeiture proceeding in other courts on the other, can be both revealed without invading the right to privacy of these witnesses," the court said.