THE prosecution on Tuesday expressed exhaustion during a hearing on the petition for bail of former Rep. Edgar Valdez of the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC).
Valdez, who is facing a P57.787-million plunder case before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division, is detained at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
“It is not only the witness who is exhausted but also this representation,” Director Jacinto Dela Cruz said.
This prompted Associate Justice Roland Jurado to say that they were not the only ones exhausted as he pointed out that the court is handling about 2,000 cases.
Dela Cruz’s statement came when Fifth Division Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo mentioned that someone from the prosecution said that pork scam witness Benhur Luy – who continued his testimony yesterday – was tired.
Deputy Special Prosecutor Omar Sagadal then said he made the remark in jest.
Jurado then warned, although with a smile, that they might be cited in contempt.
Gesmundo later pointed out, in a light manner, to the prosecution that there were medics present in the courtroom, referring to the team of medics who accompany Valdez when he attends hearings.
The former lawmaker, who said he has a spine ailment and diabetes, earlier asked the court to detain him at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, which he noted has a hospital within its premises readily accessible to him whenever his condition would require medical attention.
The court denied his motion last February saying there was “no clear indication that his purported medical condition may be aggravated or become life threatening once accused Valdez be confined in a city jail.”
Valdez, who is also facing graft charges, allegedly received kickbacks totaling P57.787 million from 2004 to 2010 by pouring his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocation to non-government organizations (NGOs) allegedly run by Janet Lim-Napoles.
He was one of the five former representatives charged in February over the alleged misuse of PDAF. The others are Masbate Governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, Constantino Jaraula of Cagayan de Oro, Rodolfo Plaza of Agusan del Sur, and Samuel Dangwa of Benguet.
Lanete faces plunder and graft charges while Jaraula, Plaza, and Dangwa face separate graft, malversation and direct bribery charges.
In June last year, the Office of the Ombudsman filed separate plunder and graft charges against three senators namely, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile, also in connection with the multimillion-peso PDAF scam.