MANILA, Sept 8 (Mabuhay) – An expert from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday maintained that the external hard drive of the pork barrel scam primary whistleblower Benhur Luy is a reliable piece of evidence against Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.
At the continuation of his testimony before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, NBI Cybercrime Division special investigator Dario Sabilano said it was “highly improbable” for someone to alter the files contained in Luy’s external hard drive.
“How probable is the scenario that the files created were altered?,”assistant state prosecutor Jedd Boco asked the witness.
“It could be highly improbable to change the files created one by one. It’s a very tedious process,” Sabilano replied.
Sabilano, however, admitted that there might have been a few entries in one particular file that “Luy could have edited”.
Sabilano made the admission, after Fifth Division member Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo noted that there were several entries in one particular disbursement file in Luy’s external hard drive, also referred as ledger, that were corrupted.
Luy’s hard drive allegedly contained spreadsheet files, soft copies of vouchers, receipts, photos and other documents that detail the transactions of the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and her alleged fake foundations with the lawmakers.
Records of the amounts of kickbacks lawmakers, including Estrada, received from Napoles in exchange for allocating their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to the latter’s alleged fake foundations were also allegedly in the hard drive.
Sabilano, who conducted the forensic examination on Luy’s external hard drive, meanwhile, maintained that while there are some files in the hard drive that might have been “revised”, the revisions were made prior to the date it was turned over by Luy to the NBI on January 27, 2014.
“They were revised on dates prior to the date it was turned over to the NBI, which means that there is no changes made in the revised files after the turnover,” Sabilano said.
Sabilano said there were over a thousand files in Luy’s external hard drive but he only examined over a hundred files related to the pork barrel scam, as the hard drive also contained Luy’s personal files including photos and MP3 music.
“Taking everything as a whole, in your opinion, how reliable is the metadata [in the hard drive] in relation to the date the files were created?” Boco.
“They are very reliable in the sense that there is a pattern of co-relation with the filename and the actual date of creation,” Sabilano replied.
Sabilano cited as examples files in the hard drive with filenames “disbursement for January 4, 2010” and “disbursement for September 4, 2004”.
“If you would look at the creation dates of these files, it appear that they were created on January 4, 2010 and September 4, 2004,” Sabilano said.
Estrada’s lawyer Paul Mar Arias, meanwhile, pointed out that there are some software available in the market that can tamper files and conceal any traces of alteration.
“But it is easier to tamper metadata if you have a software?” Arias asked.
Sabilano replied in the affirmative.
“On the assumption that the software exist, is there a possibility to tamper metadata?” Arias further inquired.
“Yes sir, there is a possibility,” Sabilano admitted.
Estrada and Napoles’ camp had been repeatedly pointing out that the files i Luy’s external hard drive were not authentic and may have been tampered.
“We believe that the files in the hard drive given by Benhur Luy to the NBI were tampered with. The entries therein are not reliable and credible because the data can be amended and edited by any other person,” Estrada’s other lawyer Alexis Abastillas-Suarez told reporters after the hearing.
Estrada is accused of amassing P183-million worth of kickbacks from the pork barrel scam. He is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. (MNS)