Ex-SC justice to probe Sandiganbayan magistrate on Napoles link

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

RETIRED Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez was tapped by the High Tribunal on Wednesday to investigate the link between a senior magistrate of the Sandiganbayan and alleged pork barrel scam architect Janet Napoles.

Gutierrez, who was with the High Court from 2000 to 2008, will look into the statements of whistleblowers Marina Sula and Benhur Luy before the Senate hearing on the scam last year that Associate Justice Gregory Ong is Napoles’ contact in the Sandiganbayan.

The former justice will then submit her recommendation to the SC en banc, which will decide on what to do with the administrative case the Court has initiated against Ong, whom Sula claimed made visits to Napoles in her office at the Discovery Suites in Pasig City.

In 2010, he voted to acquit Napoles and her husband, Jaime, over the military's anomalous purchase of 500 Kevlar helmets in 1998.

But in his letter to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno dated September 26, Ong said the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division handed down the decision based on the merits of the case and not on any other considerations.

The Sandiganbayan justice was also flanked by Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Napoles in a photograph that circulated online last August.

Ong said the photo was taken during the birthday party of Estrada, his friend for two decades.

Both Estrada and Napoles are facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for using the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for ghost projects of her bogus non-government organizations (NGOs). (Sunnex)

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