Court tells lenders: Open up pork-tainted accounts

By: Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz .

THE Sandiganbayan has mandated eight banks to make available the money trail left behind by pork-barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy, specifically cited by alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division, in a resolution signed by Associate Justice Roland Jurado and Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Maria Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, ordered the representatives from eight banks to present the bank records of Luy; his parents Arthur and Gertrudes Luy; and the other state witnesses, Merlina Suñas and Marina Sula.

Luy has 19 accounts with banks such as the United Coconut Planters Bank, Banco de Oro Unibank Inc., Metrobank Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Savings Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., the Bank of the Philippine Islands and the Manila unit of Citibank.

“You are hereby commanded to appear before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division…within five days from receipt hereof, then and there to submit to the Division Clerk of Court the bank-account transactions and all other bank records of Benhur Luy, Arthur K. Luy, Gertrudes Luy, Merlina Suñas and Marina Sula,” the court order or subpoena said.

The court also warned the banks will be penalized if they fail to present the requested bank records.

Napoles’s legal counsel, Stephen David, claimed Luy and the other witnesses were the actual beneficiaries who earned money from the scam.

Earlier, the Office of the Ombudsman said Napoles, together with Senators Ramon Revilla, Jinggoy E. Estrada and Juan Ponce-Enrile, took undue advantage of their official position to illegally divert, in connivance with certain respondents, their respective pork-barrel allocations to the Napoles non-governmental organizations, in exchange for kickbacks/commissions amounting to more than P172 million for Enrile, P242 million for Revilla and P138 million for Estrada.

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