Napoles presses bank to release whistleblowers' records

MANILA, Philippines - Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles asked the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to compel the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) to submit to the court all records pertaining to the bank deposits of prosecution star witness Benhur Luy and other whistleblowers.

The camp of Napoles said there's no reason for UCPB to withhold the bank records because Gerturdes Luy, Merlina Suñas and Marina Sula did not even assail the ruling of the court that affirmed the subpoenas issued to the bank.

Only Benhur Luy appealed the decision, but this was also denied for lack of merit by the Fifth Division in a resolution issued last December 12.

“With the denial of Benhur K. Luy’s motion for reconsideration, it is humbly submitted that UCPB has no reason to defer compliance of the Honorable Court’s subpoena for the bank accounts, bank history, records and transactions,” Napoles through her lawyers said.

Napoles has listed 6 UCPB deposit accounts, 3 in the name of Benhur Luy and one each in the names of Sula, Suñas and Gertrudes Luy. 

She also asked the court to subpoena the other accounts of the same whistleblowers in the Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI), Metrobank, Banco de Oro-Unibank, Landbank of the Philippines, and the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank).

Napoles is facing 3 plunder charges before separate divisions of the Sandiganbayan for allegedly conspiring with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile,  Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and helping the lawmakers siphon off millions from their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” allocations.  All the 3 senators are detained.

The exposés on them last year formed the biggest corruption scandal in recent Philippine history and led to the abolition of the lawmakers' PDAF.

While the First and Third Divisions overruled Napoles' request for access to the whistleblowers’ bank records upholding their confidentiality, Napoles succeeded in convincing the Fifth Division to allow her to try proving that Sula, Suñas and the Luys also made millions from the illegal PDAF transactions. -