THE Sandiganbayan has thumbed down Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and his political staff Richard Cambe’s requests to cite in contempt witness Benhur Luy and several others for allegedly refusing to let them have a copy of Luy’s external hard drive.
Revilla and Cambe are facing a P224-million plunder case before the anti-graft court in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
The Sandiganbayan’s First Division ruled that Revilla and Cambe may copy only relevant items in pork barrel scam witness Luy’s external hard drive.
Also, the court ruled that prosecutors must have a full copy of the disk image of the hard drive ready and available to the accused during the trial for the latter’s scrutiny and examination.
The hard drive contains disbursement reports of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles’ transactions that Luy said he recorded.
“If the accused so desires, he may copy the clearly established relevant portions, as listed by the prosecution, but not the entire contents of the hard drive, at this stage of the proceedings, to protect Luy’s right to privacy,” the court said in a seven-page resolution.
This is without prejudice to Revilla and Cambe’s right to copy other portions that they may subsequently find relevant, subject to the court’s approval, it noted.
Both wanted the Sandiganbayan to cite in contempt prosecutor Joefferson Toribio, Luy and his lawyers Anel Antero and Glenbelle Antero, and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) witness Joey Narciso after Narciso “refused” to let the defense have a copy of the disc image copy of the hard drive.
“The court holds and so believes that when the prosecution presented Luy as its witness and used his hard drive as part of his direct testimony, it is bound to give access to the said hard drive and its entire contents to the accused,” the anti-graft court said.
Otherwise, it added, it would be violating the accused’s right to confront the witnesses against him and the production of evidence in his behalf.
The court, however, said it should and must not disregard the rules of competency and relevancy and Luy’s right to privacy.
“To protect Luy’s right to privacy and to prevent unnecessary leakage of the contents of the hard drive and indiscriminate reproduction thereof, the accused must be allowed to copy only the portions of the hard drive that the prosecution has no objection for copying,” it added.
Narciso, an investigator in the NBI’s Cybercrime Division who conducted a forensic examination on Luy’s external hard drive, testified in Revilla and Cambe’s bail hearings that this drive has been unchanged from the time it was last saved to the time it was examined.
Revilla and Cambe asked the court to strike out Narciso’s testimony.
The senator also asked that the prosecution’s presentation of evidence be terminated while Cambe asked that Luy’s external hard drive be excluded from being formally offered as proof.
Meanwhile, Luy’s camp alleged that the accused were only seeking the exclusion of the hard drive and the pertinent files presented in evidence by making it appear that they were denied access to it.