Probe me, Sandigan justice tells High Court

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SANDIGANBAYAN Senior Justice Gregory Ong has asked the Supreme Court to investigate his alleged links with pork barrel scam architect Janet Lim Napoles.

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Ong himself sought the probe after photos of him with Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Napoles came out and the testimony of Marina Sula before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that Ong was Napoles’ contact in the judiciary.

In a letter addressed to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno dated Sept. 26, 2013 which was obtained by The Manila Times, Ong said that the photo may have been taken during Estrada’s birthday party in 2012 or 2013. He explained that he and Estrada had been friends since 1994.

“Be that as it may, it is undisputed, however that I was standing to the right of Senator Estrada to have my picture taken with him. I have no control whether other guests (in this case, Mrs. Napoles, who was standing to his left) would also want to be photographed with us,” he added.

Ong said he sought the probe “to clear the air, defend my reputation as a judge, and protect the Sandiganbayan as an institution from unfair and malicious innuendos.”

The High Court will tackle the matter during the en banc session today.

Napoles was one of the accused in the so-called “Kevlar Helmet cases” that was decided by the anti-graft court’s Second Division on October 28, 2010 where Ong sits as chair.

Ong insisted that the complaint was dismissed “pure on the merits” by the members of the court which acted as a collegial body.

Jomar Canlas

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