Court orders review of graft charges vs 3 PDAF accused
MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan's 3rd division ordered the reinvestigation of graft charges against 3 of the co-accused of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the pork barrel scam.
This was announced by 3rd division clerk of court Dennis Pulma in a press conference Friday, July 25.
In a July 21 minute resolution issued by the court, the cases of Laarni Uy, Rodrigo Galang, and Hernani Ditchon were remanded to the Ombudsman for yet another probe.
The Ombudsman was directed to submit the results of its new probe 30 days upon its receipt of the order.
Court records from the 1st and 5th divisions show Uy is an employee of JLN Corporation, owned by alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
Uy is likewise a co-accused in a number of graft cases against Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, whose cases are being heard by the 1st and 5th divisions respectively. She has already posted bail in both divisions.
Galang and Ditchon are likewise private individuals accused in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam for being officers of Napoles-controlled non-governmental organizatons used to divert funds to projects that were supposedly non-existent.
With no known addresses, the 3 were not served the Ombudsman's November 19 order requiring them to answer the charges against them.
The 3 were denied their rights to due process, as they were not able to defend themselves during the first preliminary investigation by the Ombudsman.
The preliminary investigation – meant to determine if there is probable cause to file their cases in court – proceeded even without their counter-affidavits, as their failure to submit controverting evidence was deemed by the Ombudsman a waiver of their right to submit evidence.
It was the Office of the Ombudsman – tasked to investigate and prosecute erring public officers – that filed before the court plunder and graft cases in relation to the diversion of lawmakers' PDAF or pork barrel to ghost government projects.
During the bail hearing of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, lawyer Stephen David aired his concern about the "Ombudsman's bias."
Legal counsel for Napoles, David said there were also private individuals who falsified documents for the scam but were not charged in court. These include supposed relatives of PDAF scam state witness Benhur Luy.
"Ang dami kasi nila pinatawag sa Ombudsman na witness. Yung ayaw kumampi sa kanila, kinasuhan ng kaso. Yung sumama sa kanila, hindi nila kinasuhan," he said in a chance interview with reporters Thursday.
(There were a lot of witnesses called to the Ombudsman. They filed cases against those who refused to side with them. Those who agreed, they did not.)
"Ganoon ba ang pag-iimbestiga? Pag ayaw kumampi sa iyo, kakasuhan? (Is that how you investigate? If they don't want to side with you, you file a case against them?)" he asked. – Rappler.com