Sandiganbayan justice faces case due to Napoles link

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

SANDIGANBAYAN Associate Justice Gregory Ong is facing an administrative case before the Supreme Court (SC) for his link to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said Tuesday Ong will be investigated by a retired SC justice, who has yet to be identified by the Court.

The case stemmed from the statements of whistleblowers Marina Sula and Benhur Luy before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee investigating the scam that Ong is Napoles’ contact in the anti-graft court.

Sula said Ong visited Napoles in her office at the Discovery Suites in Pasig City.

Incidentally, Ong sided with the Sandiganbayan ruling in 2010 that acquitted Napoles in the malversation cases filed against her over the military’s anomalous purchase of 500 Kevlar helmets in 1998.

One of the personalities charged with plunder in relation to the scam is Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who was flanked by Ong and Napoles in a photograph posted by online news outlet Rappler in August last year.

Ong, however, said Estrada is his friend since 1994, or four years before his appointment to the anti-graft court.

The photo was taken during Estrada’s birthday celebration either in 2012 or 2013, said Ong in his letter to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno dated September 26. Estrada turned 50 in February last year, months before the political scandal involving misuse of public funds broke out.

“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 (like Napoles) would also want to be photographed with us,” said Ong.

Te confirmed that Ong had already submitted his explanation to the Court, which initiated the probe last October. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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