The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Third Division has ordered the prosecution to show the entirety of Benhur Luy’s external hard drive.
On Friday, Luy testified at the bail hearing of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, who is facing a P172-million plunder case as Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s co-accused in connection with the pork barrel scam.
“I am requiring you to produce all the contents of the hard drive,” Associate Justice Samuel Martires said.
Luy blew the whistle on the P10-billion racket after a falling out with Napoles, his cousin and alleged architect of the scam.
Martires made the directive after Luy mentioned that in 2010, the JLN Corporation office upgraded computers to iMac from where a back-up was made of disbursement reports in an external hard drive.
Prosecutor Edwin Gomez told the court, “We only limited our production of documents to those lawmakers whose cases are already filed before the Sandiganbayan” as he explained that there were personal files in the hard drive as well as files on other lawmakers who are subject of an ongoing investigation.
Martires later said that while the prosecution has the discretion on what evidence to present, “It is also the obligation of the court to ferret out the truth to be able to see the entirety of the document . . . unless you’re hiding something in the document.”
He added, “It is very easy to come up with data and put it in a computer. So we want to see that hard disk unless the prosecution is hiding something from this court.”
“If you’re protecting some personalities, then you’re being selective in prosecuting those involved in the PDAF scam . . . Is it good in a democracy to be selective in prosecuting cases?” the magistrate said.
PDAF is the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel of lawmakers.
In an interview after the hearing, Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David told reporters, “Just to check the authenticity, veracity of his external hard drive we really want to check all the contents if these are really there.”
“‘Pag nakita namin yang laman na yan ng external hard drive niya, ibabangga namin dun sa sinasabi niyang computer na nasa office. Wasak siya dun. [If we see the contents of his external hard drive, we will compare it against the computer that he is talking about, which is in the office. He’ll be a wreck.],” David said.
Enrile is one of three senators charged last year in connection with the PDAF scam, the other two being Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.
The court’s Fifth Division, which is handling the cases against Estrada, earlier denied Estrada’s request to examine Luy’s external hard drive itself.
“[P]rudence dictates that inspection or any other activity be kept to a bare minimum on the external hard drive, whose integrity stands to be compromised with the repeated changing of hands,” the court said.
It added that it cannot also allow Estrada to examine the files in the hard drive’s copy in its entirety, finding no justification for such.
Enrile is under hospital arrest at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Estrada and Revilla are both detained in the PNP Custodial Center, which is within the police camp.
Napoles is in the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) after a Makati City (also Metro Manila) court found her guilty in the serious illegal detention case filed against her by Luy.