SC told to consider Sandigan opposition to special courts

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Friday, June 27, 2014

A FORMER government official has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to consider the unfavorable view of the Sandiganbayan justices on the proposal to create special divisions to hear the pork barrel scam cases.

Former National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) president Alan Javellana said the precedent set by the SC in 2002 when it picked three Sandiganbayan justices to try former President Joseph Estrada for plunder should remain as the "only exception to the rule," as the anti-graft court has already stated that it does not need any special division to handle the cases regarding the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

He said the Sandiganbayan should be allowed to operate on its own rules on the assignment of divisions regardless of personalities involved and political noise being generated by the controversy.

The former Nabcor head also scored the Office of the Ombudsman for coming up with the proposal, which "appears to be based on a political whim or a desire to pander to the crowd."

"The Ombudsman failed to show why these cases are more important than others. Is it because the cases involve congressional pork barrel allocations? There are many more cases concerning congressional pork barrel allocations pending in both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan. Why should the this set of cases be segregated and tried by special divisions?" Javellana said.

"Is it because the cases involve senators and congressmen? Are they more important than past presidents, a current vice-president or a former chief justice?" the comment added.

Javellana is facing several graft cases for processsing the release of the PDAF of some lawmakers to Janet Napoles' fake non-government organizations (NGOs), whose projects turned out to be incomplete or non-existent. (Sunnex)

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