THE Sandiganbayan yesterday directed lawyers of former senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada to establish the qualifications of its information technology (IT) specialist before the court can consider him an expert witness.
The defense team is presenting private IT consultant Dexter Laggui as expert witness to counter the testimony of prosecution witness NBI special agent Dario Sabilano who had testified that there has been no tampering of the hard drive submitted by government star witness Benhur Luy.
Laggui’s testimony is part of Estrada’s defense in his P183 million plunder trial.
The hard drive which underwent forensic examination for integrity supposedly contained files of alleged names, dates, and amounts of payola made under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Associate Justice Rafael Lagos, Fifth Division chairman, said pending submission of documents to establish Laggui’s qualifications, the court will defer its ruling whether the witness can offer expert testimony.
The court ordered defense lawyer Noel Malaya to produce the transcript of stenographic notes of proceedings in the Makati City regional trial court where Laggui claimed he was pronounced as an expert witness on IT only recently.
Likewise, Laggui was required to produce further proof of his expertise in the field, including any relevant certifications that he helped create the cybercrime manual of the Department of Justice.
Sabilano is a special investigator of the National Bureau of Investigation and has been declared by the court as an expert witness despite objections from the camp of Estrada.
The anti-graft court’s Fifth Division has already declared that prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman have presented sufficient evidence to prove all the elements of a plunder charge against Estrada and businesswoman Janet Napoles.
In its 12-page resolution dated September 9, 2019 that denied with finality the defendants’ challenges to the sufficiency of evidence against them, the court has held that unless the defense can present controverting evidence, there is already enough basis to convict both accused.