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Sering, Vincent Romar J.

Admin and Election


2013-100489

This is an administrative complaint filed by the Court En Banc after investigation


into certain allegations that surfaced during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing
indicated prima facie violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct by Associate Justice of
Sandiganbayan.

Before the Pork Barrel Scam, there was a case in which Janet Napoles (Ms.
Napoles) was also one of the accused together with her husband, mother, brother,
sister-in-law, and some of her employees. This case was filed before the
Sandiganbayan, in which Associate Justice Gregory Ong (Justice Ong) is one of the
prosecuting officers.

This case is called the Kevlar case. The issue involved in this case is the
questionable purchase of 500 Kevlar helmet (is a bulletproof combat helmet used by the
US military to protect them during war) by the Philippine Marine Corps in the amount of
Php 3,865,310.00 from five suppliers or companies owned by Ms. Napoles.

It was alleged in this case, that the accused, acting in conspiracy, released the
payment although there was yet no delivery of the Kelvar helmets and that the suppliers
are mere dummies of Ms. Napoles and that the helmets were made in Taiwan, not in
the USA.

Ms. Napoles husband Major Jaime Napoles, was dropped from the two
informations by the Ombudsman and Ms. Napoles mother, brother and sister-in-law
were convicted for the lesser crime of Falsification of Public Documents and Ms.

Sering, Vincent Romar J.


Admin and Election
2013-100489

Napoles herself was acquitted, in which the Court ruled that she was not one of the
dealer-payees in the transaction in question. Even if she owns the bank account where
the 14 checks were later deposited, does not in itself translate to her conspiracy in the
crimes charged.

During the investigation, the whistle blowers Benhur Luy, a relative (second
cousin) of Ms. Napoles and Ms. Sula, an employee of Ms. Napoles. They both testified
that Ms. Napoles already knew that she will be acquitted, even before the decision of
the Kevlar case. Ms. Napoles told them that she has a connect in the Sandiganbayan
that would help her. The connect that she was referring is Justice Ong.

When Justice Ong was invited in this Court for explanation, he denied the
allegations of the whistle blowers. That all they were saying is a mere hearsay and that
he did not personally known Ms. Napoles because she never personally appears before
the Sandiganbayan, during the hearing of the Kelvar case. He also stated that he did
not partied nor attended any celebration in the Napoleses.

The whistle blowers also testified that, Justice Ong visited their office twice and
that Justice Ong issued a check amounting to Php 25.5 million to Ms. Napoles because
he wanted to invest in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Police Saving and Loan
Association, Inc. (AFPPSLAI) which offered 13% interest annually. It was also alleged in
this case that there were advancements made prior to the deposit. Specifically, 11
checks were issued by Ms. Napoles in favor of Justice Ong, in advance to his
investment of Php 25.5 million.

Sering, Vincent Romar J.


Admin and Election
2013-100489

Justice Ong denied the imputations hurled against him. He further assert that the
visitation by him in the office of Ms. Napoles was because he wanted to thank her
personally for making it possible for him to wear the robe of the Holy Black Nazarene,
for he was a devotee since he was a little boy. That he needed the healing power of that
robe of the Holy Black Nazarene to cure him from his illness. He also stated that he has
nothing to do with the Kevlar case that there is no fixing happened. That she was
acquitted due to lack of evidence to convict her.

The Court adopts the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the


Investigating Justice which are well-supported by the evidence on record. Moreover,
during the investigation of this case, Benhur and Sula testified in a candid,
straightforward, and categorical manner. Their testimonies were instantameous, clear,
unequivocal, and carried with it the ring of truth. The Court also asserted that this is not
the first time that Justice Ong has been charged administratively. In Assistant Special
Prosecutor III Rohermina Jamsani-Rodriguez vs. Justices Gregory Ong, et. al., the
Supreme Court found respondent Justice Ong guilty of violation of PD 1606 and The
Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan for non-observance of collegiality in
hearing criminal cases in the Hall of Justice, Davao City.

Justice Sandoval-Gutierrez noted that respondent Justice Ongs purported


reason for visiting Ms. Napoles in her office remains uncorroborated, as Napoles and
the Quiapo parish priest were not presented as witnesses despite her suggestion to
respondent and his counsel. On the other hand, Benhur Luys testimony on what

Sering, Vincent Romar J.


Admin and Election
2013-100489

transpired in one of the respondents meeting with Napoles at her office appears to be
the more plausible and truthful version.

This Court finds that respondent Justice Ong, in not being truthful on crucial
matter, even before the administrative complaint was filed against him motu proprio, is
guilty of Dishonesty, a violation of Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct.

Respondent Justice Ong was dismissed from service, with forfeiture of all
retirement benefits for being guilty of Gross Misconduct, Dishonesty and Impropriety, all
in violation of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary.

I agree with the courts decision regarding the allegations made under oath at the
Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing against Associate Justice Gregory Ong. The
respondent in this case did not present any evidence in support to his testimonies made
before this court. The testimonies by the whistle blowers were more plausible or
credible. And considering that respondent is not a first time offender and the charges of
gross misconduct and dishonesty are both grave offenses showing his unfitness to
remain as a magistrate of the special graft court.

The lessons that I learned in this case and the pork barrel scam is to be primarily
loyal to our country or the Republic of the Philippines, not just for me but for all the
citizens of the Philippines. It is the lack of loyalty to our country that is the heart of our
evils. Loyalty is very much well-suited with honesty. Just like in this case, Justice Ong
put himself, in his own actions the evil, which put him in trouble because of being

Sering, Vincent Romar J.


Admin and Election
2013-100489

dishonest and disloyal to his country. Because of these ills in our country, only makes
the people dont believe in our system and put in their own hands the justice that they
are seeking. These things will do no good for our country. There will be no unity
because of greed and want of power for them to take advantage of that power to gain
for themselves.

In my realization to our politicians is that theyre making it as a business to earn


for themselves and live life to the fullest and not caring to what could be the effect of it
to our country, in which only resulted to poverty by numerous people. This is not just for
the politicians but also for the likes of Justice Ong. It is true that we have to earn a
living. I myself also believe in that. However, what makes it bad is the lack of loyalty and
honesty. This doesnt apply to our government but also to private entities.

Theres no harm of being loyal and honest in what we do. In fact it is a very good
practice for all of us. When time comes that all the citizens of the Philippines practice
this kind of attitude, theres no doubt that all of us will be united and our economy will be
enhanced and with that we can fight poverty, because as of today poverty is growing in
our country.

And I pray that, that time will come, that all of us will be united as one and help
one another to prevent and cure our problem in poverty. And choose wisely in electing
officials because choosing the wrong person in the position, its like your affected by an
ebola virus, once affected your life is doomed.

Sering, Vincent Romar J.


Admin and Election
2013-100489