MANILA (Mabuhay) – Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday confirmed that sacked Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong has appealed his dismissal over his supposed links with alleged pork barrel fund scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
At a forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Sereno said Ong has filed a motion for consideration of the SC ruling last September dismissing him.
Sereno made the confirmation following a question from the media if Ong could eventually be held criminally liable and be sent to jail after his dismissal. Sereno refused to elaborate on Ong’s case, saying there is a pending motion for reconsideration.
She however said: The administrative proceedings of a court is for the discipline of a member of the judiciary. It is not for criminal proceedings. Criminal proceedings are initiated by agencies and officials tasked to do that.
The SC earlier this year initiated an administrative case against Ong after reports of his links with Napoles. Leading the investigation was SC Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, who was recently appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as member of the Judicial and Bar Council.
Ong is the chairman of the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division, which had acquitted Napoles in a malversation through falsification of public documents case. The case involved the sale of 500 Kevlar helmets to the Philippine Marines in 1998.
After her investigation, Gutierrez said that Ong had acted as contact of Napoles in connection with the Kevlar case while it was pending in his division. “Ong, being Napoles’ contact in the Sandiganbayan, fixed the Kevlar case resulting in her acquittal,” said Gutierrez.
She added that Ong had received an “undetermined amount of money” from Napoles prior to the promulgation of the decision on the Kevlar case. This made Napoles confident of her acquittal, Gutierrez added.
Ong also allegedly went to Napoles’ office where she handed him 11 checks, each amounting to P282,000.00 or a total of P3,102,000.00 “as advanced interest for his P25.5 million BDO check she deposited in her personal account.”
Gutierrez said Ong visited Napoles’ office on two occasions after participating in the decision in the Kevlar case.
Contrary to Ong’s claim, Gutierrez also found out that he attended Napoles’ parties and was photographed with Napoles and Senator Jinggoy Estrada, an accused in the pork barrel scam case. (MNS)